Stories

Vol State Launches New Alcohol and Drug Prevention Program

Submitted on March 03, 2010 at 11:19 AM

College students face many pressures, and not just in the classroom. Drugs and alcohol are a serious issue for teens, and in college the expectations of students to "party" grow substantially.

It's one reason that Vol State has a new Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) prevention plan. It's a partnership with the Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition (SCADC) in conjunction with the Community Anti-Drug Coalition Across Tennessee (CADCAT.)

"We're looking for ways to educate our campus and reduce the use of alcohol and drugs," said Vol State Campus Police Chief William Rogan.

"This is important for student emotional and physical well-being, which impacts their success in the classroom and in life," said Retention Support Services Director Emily Short.

Rogan and Short, along with Katie Brown and Megan Buell of the Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition, recently presented the plan to the CADCAT Advisory Board. Vol State is one of the first colleges in the state to sign a memo of understanding with a local anti-drug coalition. It's well ahead of a Tennessee bill that would require colleges and universities to have such a plan.

"It's very important that we start getting the word out about binge drinking on college campuses," said Buell. "It's a huge issue for campuses across the country."

Student surveys will help the organizers find out how students perceive the use of drugs and alcohol. From those results a social norms marketing campaign will be developed, with events held to reach students.

The first event will be a speech by a man who understands the impact of poor alcohol decision making, in a way that most of us cannot imagine.

Blake McMeans was a teenager and star tennis player, looking forward to college and a possible sports career. He drank too much at a bar one night, and ran off the road and into a tree. He stayed in a coma for three and a half months. Now he is largely confined to a wheelchair.

He has turned in experience into a powerful message for young people, about poor decision making, and the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Blake McMeans will speak at Vol State on April 19 at 12:15 p.m. in the Carpeted Dining Room of the Wood Campus Center. The public is invited to attend.

Future activities for the alcohol and drug awareness program will include presentations and activities at Vol State campus events, such as the President's Picnic, held each year for new students.

For more information visit www.volstate.edu/campuspolice and click "Drug Free Campus."

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