For practitioners working on alcohol and other drug prevention in higher education, it is important for us to engage with our communities of focus to create buy-in, understand needs, and implement strategies that will have a higher likelihood of success. While college students are certainly a busy population, campus environments offer many opportunities to engage with students to enhance alcohol and other drug prevention and education efforts.   Kimberly Liao Understanding Student Needs Understanding student needs is a crucial first step to help prioritize issues, set measurable goals and...

My DA’s office covers a territory in western Massachusetts that includes a large public university, four private colleges, and a well-regarded community college. That’s a lot of college students, with a select number entering the criminal justice system for the first time. That is why I am a big fan of prevention and early intervention. While conventional wisdom has it that the college years are the best of a person’s life, we all know it’s way more complicated than that. For many people, college years are filled with confusion, experimentation, and sometimes, bad decisions – even a series of...

On January 1, 2014, it became legal in Colorado and Washington State for adults 21 and over to buy marijuana for non-medical use in communities that chose to implement the new law. Currently, 10 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana, with more likely to follow. Marijuana legalization presents particular challenges for colleges and universities because, regardless of state law, these institutions remain subject to the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, and the accompanying regulations that apply in the context of higher education. Judge Linda Cooke Boulder,...

In 1986, the shocking death of the greatest basketball player who never played professional basketball, Leonard “Len” Bias, shocked the nation. Len was a first-team All-American college basketball player from the University of Maryland and was a second overall pick of the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft. Tragically, Len died two days after the NBA draft from cocaine intoxication after ingesting an unusually pure dose of the drug. His death is referred to as the catalyst event that sparked passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. We can clearly say the pretext for the field of drug...

Melissa Ertl  More than ever before, preventionists on college campuses are called to attend to the needs of a wide range of students, including those from underrepresented or historically marginalized groups. This is because college student populations are diversifying rapidly, as many students who previously would be unable to attend college now are accessing postsecondary education. Given broadening access to college, some undergraduate students arrive on campuses with few resources and little support, which may place them at risk for challenges to their health and well-being, including...

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