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NIAAA Newsletter

NIAAA at CADCA's National Leadership Forum

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Attendees of the 22nd Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum met with NIAAA program leadership at three sessions on February 7. At these sessions, NIAAA staff presented information on key NIAAA programs and held open question-and-answer sessions to help attendees integrate this information into their own programs in the community.

At the session “How Coalitions Can Help College Presidents Address Harmful Student Drinking in the Community,” Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., Director of NIAAA’s Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, presented along with Jonathan Gibralter, Ph.D., President of Frostburg State University. Dr. Hingson provided attendees with information on recent trends and findings relating to college drinking and drug use. He said that college problems with substance abuse are a part of larger societal problems, noting that young people ages 18 to 24 are the individuals in the population most likely to exceed low-risk drinking limits and most likely to meet alcohol dependence criteria. There are, however, several types of interventions that can help reduce alcohol use in college, including screening and brief intervention, social-norms interaction, parent-based interventions, and implementing and enforcing environmental policy (such as minimum legal drinking age laws, etc.).

Building upon Dr. Hingson’s data, Dr. Gibralter presented information on how coalitions can help colleges. He cited his own work as president of Frostburg State University, where the combined efforts of the college and community have contributed to a 25 percent decrease in binge drinking among students over the course of 5 years. Dr. Gibralter described his President’s Alcohol Task Force, a community/university collaboration that implemented a variety of best practices along with coalition members which included local residents, law enforcement, city and university administration, health department representatives, and property owners. Dr. Gibralter noted that, in contrast to the fears of some college administrators, as drinking has decreased at Frostburg, enrollment has increased. He encouraged local communities to bring evidence of the effectiveness of interventions to college presidents in order to help bring about similar changes in their communities.

Later that day, Vivian Faden, Ph.D., Director of NIAAA’s Office of Science Policy and Communications, and Robert Huebner, Ph.D., Acting Director of NIAAA’s Division of Treatment and Recovery Research, presented the workshop “How Coalitions Can Promote Alcohol Screening.” Dr. Huebner noted that only 1 in 10 individuals with a drinking problem ever seeks treatment. To help practitioners reach more of their patients who may drink in risky ways, NIAAA has produced two publications: Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician’s Guide and Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide. Drs. Huebner and Faden outlined these guides and also provided dissemination ideas for incorporating them into clinical practices in communities.

Image of Drs. Ralph Hingson, Vivian Faden, and Robert Huebner leading discussion.

Drs. Ralph Hingson (standing), Vivian Faden, and Robert Huebner lead discussion at this year's CADCA forum.

At the Federal power session, CADCA Chairman and CEO Arthur T. Dean, Major General, U.S. Army, Retired, and Drs. Faden, Hingson, and Huebner, presented information on how NIAAA and CADCA can put alcohol research to work, strategic planning and research at NIAAA, and NIAAA’s clinical and health services research. Following the presentations, NIAAA staff engaged in a question-and-answer period that allowed attendees to raise issues related to NIAAA and alcohol research and to ask questions about implementing alcohol abuse prevention strategies in their communities.