According to statistics from last year’s alcohol screening at ETSU, 23 percent of students are consuming alcohol in a way that is considered harmful.
The ETSU Counseling Center will be holding their fourth National Alcohol Screening day on April 7 for students, faculty and staff.
Last year, they screened 1,373 students and 2,009 faculty and staff, winning an award for one of the top ten schools in the country for most screens.
“We usually start this the first full week of April, and while the official day is on the seventh, students can take the screening all week,” said alcohol and drug outreach coordinator Mina McVeigh. “It’s essentially a screen to see if you are using alcohol in a problematic way.”
It’s an anonymous, ten question survey which asks participants questions about their intake: how often they consume, how their drinking has effected others and their mood when they consume alcohol.
McVeigh said the outreach program takes a “harm reduction” approach to alcohol and drugs.
“We’re not here to tell people to not drink,” McVeigh said. “We’re here to say that not all drinking is helpful, and some of it is downright dangerous or hazardous.”
While the screening is the most helpful way for people to determine if they are misusing alcohol, they can ask: Is my drinking causing negative consequences to occur in my life?
“People tend to go through predictable stages of change — such as being in denial — and we recognize that some people are pre-contemplative,” McVeigh said. “However, we know that the screen can move someone a step forward where they will move from thinking to preparation stage and get the help they need from the counseling center.”
McVeigh also encourages that people, especially students, understand their personal drink count based on time, weight, race and even biological differences in order to maintain a “healthy buzz.”
“Some people think, ‘Well, this is college,’ which is true because you finally get away to be able to experiment, but what I try to educate my students about is just because this is college doesn’t mean you are suddenly what some call an ‘alcoholic’ just because you discovered vodka one week and bad stuff happened to you,” McVeigh said.
Starting in the fall, incoming freshman and transfer students will be required to take alcohol screenings and educational programs before attending classes.
“We know that about 10 percent of people will leave college with an alcohol use disorder,” McVeigh said, “so it’s not true that everyone gets over it.”