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California State University, Long Beach
Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Program
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Safer California Universities Project

A Multi-Campus Alcohol Prevention Study

Extreme levels of drinking and the problems associated with heavy drinking among college students are “rediscovered” every few years. Despite the attention and concern, little progress has been made in preventing drinking problems with this important group of young people. This new study, funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), is designed to help identify the most effective ways of preventing and dealing with heavy alcohol consumption by college students. The University of California and California State University Systems (14 campuses) have agreed to participate in this very important study, which is being carried out by the Prevention Research Center (PRC) in Berkley, California.

This study is designed to evaluate the potential impacts or a "risk management" approach to preventing alcohol-related problems. The effectiveness of these strategies will then be monitored along with the development of any other heavy drinking situations or problems.

Enforcement Operations

The Safer Universities Project calls for nine enforcement operations to be carried out within the first 12 weeks of the fall semester, as well as encouraging the use of a response-cost ordinance to place extra attention on houses or apartments that are repeatedly the source of alcohol related problems.

In collaboration with local police, each campus will conduct a minimum of nine enforcement operations involving: Compliance Checks, DUI Check Points, and Party Patrols.

Compliance Checks

The objective of this component is to limit the access to alcohol by young people who are not of legal drinking age by enforcing laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors. "Minor decoy" operations use a person under the legal drinking age to attempt to purchase alcohol without showing identification from a retail outlet while under the observation of law enforcement.

DUI Check Points

Driving under the influence (DUI) laws restrict individuals from driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater then .08. There is also a "Zero Tolerance" administrative per se law (administrative sanctions) for drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC level of .01. In terms of the specific goals of this project, this component constitutes a strategy to identify and intervene with intoxicated persons.

What Is a Risk Management Approach?

Risk management refers to strategies designed to reduce the potential for loss before it occurs. Risk management as we will use it in this project includes the following elements:

  • Risk assessment – Identifying those factors and behaviors that pose particular risks to students
  • Risk prevention and reduction – changing the circumstances that pose the greatest risk so that the problems are less likely to occur.
  • Risk monitoring – Continually assessing existing and potential circumstances that can lead to risk.
Prevention Research Center - Parcific Institute for Research and Evaluation