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Campus forum advocates drug and alcohol prevention

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As part of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s town meeting, CSU-Pueblo held a forum on how to prevent students from misusing drugs and alcohol April 12, at noon.

David Arnold speaks about alcohol statistics at CSU-Pueblo at the forum April 12. Photo by Tyler Shomaker.

As the meeting started in the OUC Underground, Majorie Villani, the associate dean of Students, started off with a welcoming introduction to the event as police officers, nurses, members of the district attorney’s office and many others took their seats.

With nearly 60 people seated in the crowd, David Arnold, the Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention coordinator, walked up to the stage. Since his addition to the campus in January, Arnold was eager to get out his research on trends in alcohol and other drug use, he said.

“Students don’t have to look any further than to MTV to see a bad role model when it comes to drinking” Arnold said. As Arnold pointed to a picture of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” which revealed her drinking a margarita out of a glass with two bottles of Corona wedged in it.

Arnold went on to explain how the media has helped underage drinking become the latest trend because most media is directed towards the youth. Data he collected in a survey displayed that three in four students report to have drank alcohol before they graduated from high school.

“Though most students are coming in with an experience with alcohol before college, it is college that helps transforms the trend into binge drinking,” Arnold said.

His data also revealed that one in two students used an illicit drug before entering college.

“One in four students at CSU-Pueblo have reported current use of marijuana,” Arnold said.

Next, Andy Cohen and Shadia Lemus, from Webb PR, an organization that helps with public relations, were put in charge of the communications of this project, came up to the stage.

With some strategic planning, they have come up with the “Social Norming Initiative.”

Their specific area would be to focus on impaired driving behaviors.

“The campaign will run with the title ‘Even Zombies Know,’” Lemus said.  

Cohen explained how most of the funding was going to be coming from the Persistent Drunk Driving Committee and they are going to launch a promotion for the project through Facebook, as well as other social networks. The launch is scheduled to take place this summer, so that it has time to become popular by the fall semester, he said.

The meetings will take place every other month.

For more information, contact Arnold at 719-549-2121, or by e-mail at david.arnold@colostate-pueblo.edu.