|Responsible use of alcohol encouraged
A growing minority of health care students misuse alcohol, and MUSC is
not alone in this trend. Results from national studies show that 10 to
20 percent of health care students drink heavily and either have or are
at risk for developing alcohol problems. MUSC is addressing this issue
by implementing a prevention and intervention plan for its students.
Darlene Shaw, Ph.D., associate provost for Education and Student
Life convened an Alcohol Advisory Group in 2009 for this purpose.
Chaired by Suzanne Thomas, Ph.D., from the Charleston Alcohol Research
Center, the group is comprised of students, faculty, and staff from
MUSC's six colleges. The group was charged with finding effective
ways to promote responsible alcohol use and reduce problem drinking
among students. As a result of their efforts, an initiative was
One element of this initiative is that each college, as well as some
non-college programs, such as Interprofessional Education, Student
Programs, and Public Safety, has agreed to adopt a month to host at
least one activity to promote responsible use of alcohol or raise
awareness about the issue of problematic drinking and campus resources
that provide treatment.
In January, Interprofessional (IP) Programs presented a case study of
an alcohol impaired resident during IP Day. In February, the College of
Pharmacy hosted a presentation by pharmacy professionals in recovery
from alcohol and other drug addiction. They shared their stories, and
emphasized the nature of the “slippery slope” they experienced as they
used alcohol to cope with the stress of school.
In March, the College of Health Professions hosted an event to train
students about the concept of the standard drink. Developed by the
Charleston Alcohol Research Center, a game called “Wheel of Pour-tune”
was adopted for use at this event. The game is a hands-on, interactive
demonstration that reveals how easy it is to overpour an alcoholic
A standard drink unit is the measurement of alcohol that allows someone
to accurately determine how many drinks he’s had. For example, a
standard drink of beer is 12 oz; wine is 5 oz; 80 proof liquor is 1.5
oz. Someone who drinks two cocktails containing 3 ounces of
liquor, which is surprisingly common, is really consuming four drinks.
The College of Health Professions also distributed blood alcohol
estimator cards and provided information from local cab companies to
address the dangers of drinking and driving. A brochure on responsible
drinking also was distributed to students.
Future alcohol education activities are planned for each month of the
school year. Thomas said they are thoughtfully designed to be
interesting and practical, providing useful information about alcohol,
how to avoid developing problems, and how to help yourself or your
friend if problems occur. These events will be advertised in student
broadcast messages and through The Catalyst and will be held at times
that are convenient for students to attend.
Friday, April 16, 2010