The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative (ADAI) will kick off the first event of their semi-annual Six Weeks of Alcohol Awareness Training, or S.W.A.A.T., today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the LSC Mall Area.
The event, entitled “Alcohol+Drugs+Work=Unemployment”, will supply students with valuable information on how the use of alcohol and drugs can negatively affect their career. During the event, career counselors from SHSU’s Career Services will be on hand to discuss some of the negative effects of alcohol and drug abuse and how to avoid and amend these problems in the professional world.
“The career counselors are going to be focusing on three different areas,” said ADAI Coordinator Rosanne Keathley. “They will be focusing on how alcohol affects a student’s success, how alcohol and drugs can affect a student once they are in the business world, and then how individuals can go back and actually strive to improve their overall professional reputation after they have had an incident with alcohol and drugs.”
“They (will also) have all kinds of statistics from the U.S. labor department about how alcohol and drugs can affect your professional career,” Keathley said.
In addition, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative will also be hosting another alcohol awareness event entitled “Super Bowl Safety Zone” on Feb. 2.
The event, which will take place in the LSC Mall Area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is designed to educate students on how to safely enjoy Super Bowl weekend by informing them about the dangers of a high blood alcohol content level and appropriate alcohol serving sizes.
In addition, participants of “Super Bowl Safety Zone” may also enjoy mocktails, football snacks, recipes, sports related fun and a safety presentation given by ADAI committee members and Student Services volunteers.
Sowhat are mocktails, you ask?
“Mocktails are alcohol free cocktails,” Keathley said. “You can make a fun drink that looks like a party drinkit doesn’t have to have alcohol in it.”
Blood alcohol content and alcohol serving sizes is one of the most misunderstood concepts by not only just students but the entire population, Keathley said.
According to Keathley, the S.W.A.A.T. program began in the Spring of 2005 as a means to attract students to participate in alcohol related programming.
“S.W.A.A.T. is based on the premise that if you can have alcohol and drug education at the beginning of the academic semesters the incidents of violations is greatly reduced,” Keathley said.
Throughout the program, students may receive S.W.A.A.T. points and prizes for each session they attend. The grand prize is a t-shirt. Students do not need to attend every session in order to participate in S.W.A.A.T., but may attend any session that interests them.
“The name (of the event) – S.W.A.A.T. was actually thought of by Michelle Lovering, who is the former self-educator at the health center,” Keathley said. “Then, we came up with the idea of having comprehensive alcohol and drug programming at the beginning of each semester.”
ADAI hosts the S.W.A.A.T. program every spring and fall semester. The program lasts for six consecutive weeks.
The Alcohol Abuse and Drug Initiative was formed in 2004 under the direction of SHSU President Dr. James F. Gaetner. The initiative is composed of faculty, staff, administrators and students dedicated to ensuring the safety and health of SHSU students. According to their website, their mission is to reduce alcohol and drug abuse among SHSU students through coordinated efforts to inform, educate and modify student’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding substance abuse.
“I think that everything that the university has done to create awareness about alcohol and drugs has helped us not have an alcohol related fatality since the fall of 2005,” Keathley said. “It’s a concerted effort starting from the president on down and it’s an ongoing effort as well.”
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving related crashes in 2008. This number; however, is a decline of 9.8 percent from the 13,041 drunk driving related fatalities in 2007.
According to the Crime Statistics posted by the University Police Department from Jan. 1, 2009 to July 9, 2009, there were 35 liquor-law violations and 12 drug abuse violations which ended in arrest in on-campus residence halls.
ADAI is aiding in the fight to prevent alcohol and drug abuse.
“If we improve one student’s life (through alcohol and drug awareness), then we are doing our job and we are happy with that,” Keathley said.