Students invited to participate in National Alcohol Screening Day
The National Alcohol Screening Day ad that is posted on campus.
'Have you developed a pour reputation?'
You've probably seen the signs on campus. They contain this caption as well as an image of a bottle full of alcohol being poured into a glass.
The signs are there because this Thursday, April 10, is National Alcohol Screening Day.
According to Mina McVeigh, the outreach coordinator for an on-campus program called Alcohol and Other Drugs, the event is "an outreach, education, and screening program that raises awareness about alcohol misuse and refers individuals with alcohol problems for further treatment."
Although the event, held on the Thursday of the first full week of April, has been going on since the 1990s, this is ETSU's first year doing the online event. Students are given an incentive to participate; each participant can be entered in a drawing to win a Kindle e-reader.
On a more serious note, people should participate in the screening for health reasons. McVeigh explained that "early detection of an alcohol use disorder is critical in preventing many of the negative consequences of over-drinking."
"Many people erroneously believe that a person's life has to be in complete disarray due to drinking, the idea of a bum in the gutter, for there to be a 'problem.' This is not true. There are many serious consequences that occur at much less severe levels of the drinking."
She listed scenarios of people with drinking problems, one whose alcohol use leads to regular arguments and fights, or perhaps a person who regularly engages in unprotected or unwanted sex when drinking. In both cases, a person would be "using alcohol in a way that is dangerous and disruptive."
"The belief that you don't have an alcohol problem unless your life is ruined has been perpetuated by use of the term 'alcoholic' ... The proper diagnostic term for someone with a drinking problem is 'Alcohol Use Disorder, mild, moderate or severe.' This allows for the disordered use of alcohol to occur along a spectrum of severity."
In addition to the screening, the on-campus program does many other things to fulfill their dedication to "helping individuals make healthy lifestyles choices with regard to alcohol and other drugs." McVeigh explained that they do this is by providing accurate information about alcohol and other drugs, through classroom presentations, for example.
"I am well-known for promoting 'the perfect buzz,' which is a safe level of drinking which is different for every person. Men and women are different in the way they process alcohol, for example, which leads to a higher blood-alcohol concentration for women than men even if they are the same size and drink the same amount."
The program also launched a campaign last year called Sober Sex that raises awareness about "the dangers of mixing alcohol and sex."
"Many students don't know that a person cannot legally give consent for sex when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And sex without consent is sexual assault."
The Counseling Center is available for students who need help or just want to talk to someone about their drinking habits. There is also a student support group known as ETSU SMART, which stands for 'Self-Management and Recovery Training,' that provides support for recovery from various kinds of addiction.
McVeigh stressed that, contrary to a common misperception, not every college student who drinks does so irresponsibly.
"The majority of students who drink do so responsibly. And yet a 2012 survey of ETSU students indicates that 25.3 percent of males and 17.8 percent of females have engaged in binge drinking in the last 30 days. Over 40 percent of these say that they have experienced one or more negative consequences due to their drinking, including regretted behavior, unprotected sex and blackouts. This is a very serious public health concern."
"It is important for the public to know that help is out there and that recovery is possible. It is my passion to get the message out that everyone deserves a healthy, productive life."
To participate in the screening, go to www.ETSUAlcoholScreeningDay.com. Upon completing a screening, students can enter to win a Kindle e-reader. On Thursday, there will also be booths placed across campus where more information will be available.
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