Description of Strategy
A significant amount of research has been conducted on the prevalence and effects of single programs and policies on college campuses related to alcohol and tobacco treatment, intervention, and prevention. These programs include policies such as substance-free dorms, smoke-free campuses, Friday and Saturday substance use class requirements, prohibition of alcohol sales on campus, and letters to parents regarding alcohol violations. To be effective at reaching the entire continuum of students who may experience alcohol- and tobacco-related problems, campuses must do more than implement single policies or programs. Components of a comprehensive campus alcohol system include alcohol screening, intervention, treatment, prevention policies mentioned above, and enforcement. Research and theory suggest that making multiple changes to the campus and community alcohol environment can be effective in reducing alcohol use and related problems among college students; however, the ideal combination of programs, policies and other systems changes has not been identified (Toomey et al., 2013).
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Discussion of Effectiveness
Evidence is varied for the effectiveness of college campus policies regarding underage drinking and other alcohol related outcomes. Multi-component programs were typically found to be effective (Newman, Shell, Major, & Workman, 2006; Saltz, Welker, Paschall, Feeney, & Fabiano, 2009; Wolfson et al., 2012). The degree of effectiveness depended on the level of policy implementation and the specific components of the college campus program (Toomey & Wagenaar, 2002; Weitzman, Nelson, Hang, & Wechsler, 2004).
Evidence is generally supportive of the effectiveness of college campus policies to reduce tobacco use among college students. Specifically, implementation of smoke-free campus policies was associated with favorable changes in smoking behavior (Seo, Macy, Torabi, & Middlestadt, 2011).
Prescription & Other Drugs
Additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of college campus polices on outcomes related to other drug use.