Health staff discusses drug concerns

By Helena Bush

NIU students’ alcohol consumption and knowledge of preventing sexually transmitted diseases were concerns addressed by the Health Enhancement Staff Wednesday.

A national college study stated white freshmen males are “at the top of the chart” for heavy drinking and black female students “showed zero response,” said Health Enhancement Coordinator Michael Haines.

According to the study, 92 percent of college students drink alcohol, 1.3 percent use marijuana and 1 percent use cocaine and intravenous drugs, Haines said. He said the study shows the need to incorporate alcohol and drug awareness into college curriculum.

“We are not a patient education service,” he said. “We try to work with people before the illnesses occur.”

NIU graduate Joanna Deuth said she presents birth control information in the residence halls and tells students about sexually transmitted diseases.

However, according to a survey conducted by another health enhancement member, many students do not know how to prevent STDs, Deuth said.

One-fourth of 82 students surveyed said they use oral contraceptives to prevent STDs, she said. One-third of the surveyed students said they washed or showered after intercourse to combat STDs.

“These are people who are coming into an environment in which they can do whatever they want. What kind of preparation are they getting before they come here?” Deuth said.

A new class, Students Understanding Drinking, Drugs and Self, will be conducted by Amy Havasi, a member of the Health Enhancement staff.

The class is mandated by NIU’s Judicial Review Board for students who have been involved in alcohol- or drug-related offenses, Haines said.

Wirtz House holds brown bag luncheons every Wednesday noon. Next week will be a presentation of “African American Education: From a Female Perspective.”