Preventing Drug Use, Underage Drinking On Campuses

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Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that $2.5 million has been awarded to 20 SUNY and CUNY Colleges in 17 counties across New York to help prevent and reduce underage drinking and drug use. The funding will support the development of campus community coalitions and foster community partnerships to help strengthen local prevention efforts and will be specifically targeted at students from 18 to 24 years of age.

“College is a formative time in young people’s lives and it is critical that we provide our students with the necessary tools to avoid making bad decisions with potentially life-altering consequences,” Cuomo said. “Through campaigns aimed at combating drug use and underage drinking, we can help set students on the right path by creating a campus environment that fosters education, awareness and growth for all.”

The initiative further advances the governor’s goal of promoting strategies that prevent underage drinking and equip students and their families with essential knowledge, while continuing to make state campuses and communities safer.

“Experimenting with drugs and alcohol in college is not a harmless rite of passage: it can have serious lifelong consequences,” said New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “This funding will help prevent needless tragedies and help to protect students and our communities from the harm caused by underage drinking and drug use.”

To make the funding available, the state issued a request for applications in November 2016. The governor committed a total of $2.5 million annually to fund drug and alcohol prevention programs targeted at college-age youth in the selected schools. Each college awarded funding will receive up to $125,000 annually for five years. The first period will begin on July 1, 2017 and end on June 30, 2022.

The following college campus communities in New York State will receive funding:

• University of Buffalo
• State University of New York at Buffalo State
• State University of New York at New Paltz
• Stony Brook University
• State University of New York at Albany
• Purchase College SUNY
• College of Staten Island
• College at Brockport
• Tompkins Cortland Community College
• State University of New York College at Cortland
• Herkimer College
• Binghamton University
• Onondaga Community College
• Suffolk Community College
• Farmingdale State College
• John Jay College
• Baruch College
• The City College of New York
• Lehman College
• State University of New York at Geneseo

“This funding will go a long way in providing a supportive environment both on and off campus to prevent underage drinking and drug use,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said. “We applaud the governor for making such an important investment in the safety and well-being of SUNY students so that they have a best opportunity for a quality education.”

The programs the colleges develop are expected to achieve an overall decrease in problems related to alcohol and drug use, such as academic difficulties, alcohol overdoses and injuries, and assaults. Other objectives include:

• Reducing alcohol and drug access and availability on the campus and in the surrounding community;

• Changing attitudes and norms that support college underage drinking and drug use, including prescription drug misuse; and

• Providing screening, brief intervention and referral to Treatment services to college students as appropriate.

James B. Milliken, the chancellor of The City University of New York said, “A college education and a healthy college experience lay the foundation for personal and professional success and it opens the door to opportunity. Drug and alcohol abuse close those doors and are gateways to dependency and frustration. Governor Cuomo’s initiative will be invaluable in providing students and their families with the essential knowledge they need to avoid those pitfalls, while helping to make our campuses and communities safer.”

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