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Program Helps Reduce Binge Drinking

tudents six months after the intervention and found that 67 percent of those students no longer fall in the “at-risk” category. About 50 percent showed a decline in risk compared to their pre-intervention levels.

Overall, researchers screened about 6,000 of the university’s nearly 20,000 students. Some 470 students have participated in the intervention and educational program since 2006.

“We believe that our project can become a model for the way that college campuses provide intervention services for risky alcohol use, both nationally and among campuses with high Hispanic enrollments,” Tomaka said.

Tomaka said the model program was modified to better address and impact UTEP’s dominant minority population – 72.5 percent of its students are Hispanic. In discussing the myths of how to sober up, for example, program administrators remind students that their blood alcohol levels will not decline if they have a bowl of hot menudo, a Mexican tripe stew seasoned with chili peppers.

“Many of the behaviors and perceptions associated with drinking are the same across the board, but we wanted to make some of the program more relevant to our student population and this region,” Tomaka said. “We believe this helps in its effectiveness.”
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