This article was published in the “News” section of The Villager on April 13, 2015

National Alcohol Screening Day is an annual initiative promoting education, outreach and awareness to the public regarding harmful drinking behaviors. Thousands of colleges and community-based organizations nationwide participate in the event, according to Screening for Mental Health, a national organization providing mental health programs for schools, companies and communities.

Stevenson’s National Alcohol Screening Day will take place on April 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Greenspring campus.

Stevenson’s National Alcohol Screening Day is coordinated by the Wellness Center staff, REAL Peer Educators and Phi Sigma Sigma.

Stevenson participates in National Alcohol Screening Day in order to raise awareness about the damaging effects drinking can have on students’ lives.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recognizes the serious consequences students face due to excessive drinking, such as assault, sexual abuse and even death. Alcohol can also lead to poor academic performance and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in students.

Each year, approximately 1,800 college students age 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related causes. Each year, more than 690,000 college students age 18 to 24 are assaulted by a student who has been drinking, according to NIAAA.

These statistics highlight the importance of raising awareness about alcohol abuse on campus as four out of five college students drink alcohol, and half of those students participate in binge drinking, according to NIAAA.

Student Activities promotes the event in conjunction with the Spring Fling, as well as the increased drinking associated with social events.

“As a 21-year-old student, I understand the want and need to have fun and go to social outings, but the amount of alcohol you drink shouldn’t be a factor of how much fun you have,” said Taylor Cunha, a member of Phi Sigma Sigma.

According to Brenda Boggs, a nurse practitioner for Stevenson University and the advisor of Nation Alcohol Screening Day at Stevenson, students are asked to fill out a 10-question screening tool to determine how much alcohol they consume. Students are placed into one of three categories based on their answers – no risk, moderate risk, high risk. Students placed in the high risk category are referred to the Wellness Center for additional assistance.

Boggs said, “Students seem to be pretty honest about answering appropriately,” noting that last year over 700 students participated in the day’s activities, and to her, the event is “more about raising awareness” than anything else.

Boggs wants to open students’ eyes to what is considered safe in terms of drinking.

The local health department and police assist in educating Stevenson students. Police officers bring a drunk car simulator so students have the chance to experience firsthand the dangers of drunken driving. Students also have the opportunity to wear beer goggles and then attempt to walk in a straight line.

While the event is focused on educating students, there will also be music, food, t-shirts and giveaways.

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