Campus: CSU Chico -- August 26, 2002
Survey Shows Promising Trend Toward Reduced Alcohol,
Survey results from spring 2002 suggest a trend toward less use of alcohol
and drugs by students at California State University, Chico, which could
be attributable to a comprehensive anti-abuse campaign on campus.
Since 1989, CSU, Chico has administered the CORE Institute’s Drug
and Alcohol Survey to students in classes. The survey is used on approximately
130 two-year and four-year college campuses nationwide. At CSU, Chico,
1,250 students were randomly surveyed this year.
When asked if they had consumed any alcohol in the past 30 days, 82
percent of CSU, Chico students surveyed in spring 2002 said yes, down
3 percent from 2000. Marijuana use over the 30-day period declined from
37 to 36 percent, and tobacco use declined from 37 to 33 percent.
Among freshmen, who historically report higher use of alcohol and drugs
than older students, alcohol use declined from 82 to 76 percent, marijuana
use remained the same at 49 percent and tobacco use declined from 47
to 37 percent over the 30-day period.
Other results from the CORE survey at CSU, Chico also show a slight
to moderate reduction in drug and alcohol use. Comparing 2000 and 2002
- The median number of drinks consumed per week declined from five
- The percentage of students consuming five or more drinks at a sitting
at least once in the previous two weeks – often termed “binge
drinking” – declined from 59 to 56.
- The percentage of students who had consumed alcohol in the past
year declined from 93 to 90.
- The percentage of students who had used marijuana in the past year
declined from 55 to 52.
- The percentage of students who had used an illegal drug other than
marijuana in the past year declined from 27 to 24.
- The percentage of underage students (younger than 21) who consumed
alcohol in the past 30 days declined from 85 to 80.
- The percentage of students who reported some form of public misconduct
as a result of drug or alcohol use, such as a DUI arrest, declined
from 58 to 45.
“Across the board, these survey results point to slightly less
use and abuse of drugs and alcohol at Chico,” said Shauna Quinn,
director of CSU, Chico’s Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center
(CADEC). “While the numbers remain unacceptably high, we are very
encouraged. We believe our efforts are paying off.”
CADEC’s activities include hosting alcohol-free events on campus,
training peer educators, holding classes for violators of campus alcohol
policies, providing transportation for inebriated students and mailing
birthday cards with words of advice to students turning 21 years of
age. CADEC also has assisted with increased enforcement of no-drinking
rules in residence halls and improved coordination with the local community.
While CSU, Chico has long been a leader in drug and alcohol education,
it is currently in the middle of an innovative two-year program to reduce
alcohol abuse. The program is funded by a $276,590 grant from the U.S.
Department of Education. The university was one of 14 campuses nationwide
last year to receive a federal anti-alcohol abuse grant.
Advertisements, posters, e-mails and publications are being distributed
to students, relaying accurate facts about how much students drink and
how students over-estimate how much their peers drink. The education
program is based on social norming theory, which predicts that students
will tend to drink to the level they believe their peers drink.
At CSU, Chico, as at many campuses nationwide, students over-estimate
the amount of drinking among their peers and therefore orient their
drinking to a false standard. Social norming campaigns have been found
to be the single most effective method to diminish alcohol abuse at
a number of other campuses in recent years.
In a supplemental questionnaire to the CORE survey the past two years,
CSU, Chico students have been asked to estimate how much other students
drank. From 2001 to 2002, the number of drinks students guessed their
peers consumed at their last social occasion declined from six to five.
Over that same period, the number of drinks students said they themselves
drank declined from five to four.
“We believe overall drinking will decline as the gap between perception
and reality narrows,” said Walt Schafer, professor of sociology
and special assistant for alcohol issues to CSU, Chico President Manuel
Esteban. “We have a lot of work yet to do, but these new survey
data suggest the social norming campaign is being effective.”
While national results from the 2002 CORE survey are not in, CSU, Chico
traditionally records higher levels of alcohol use than the national
average. In 2000, the national average for students reporting binge
drinking in the previous two weeks was 47 percent, compared with 56
percent at CSU, Chico.
Of the CSU, Chico students surveyed, 52 percent were female and 61 percent
were between 18 and 22 years of age. Fifty-five percent worked part-time
or full-time and 93 percent were full-time students.
Contact: Joe Wills, 530-898-4143