Survey measures drug, alcohol use

By Suzanne Tomse

In an effort to develop new drug and alcohol programming at NIU, a student survey will be conducted next week to measure the extent of substance usage on campus.

The survey will be distributed in most of the larger classes either at the end or beginning of the period depending on cooperation from the professors, Barbara Henley, assistant vice president for student affairs, said.

She said the voluntary survey will ask questions pertaining to students’ alcohol or drug use within the last two weeks, the last 30 days and the last 12 months.

“We want to know how students feel about this (substance usage) before spending money on programming,” Henley said.

In September, NIU received a two-year grant of nearly $70,000 from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education. The grant will be used to for the expansion of NIU’s drug abuse assessment and education programs.

Another goal of the survey will be to assess student norms concerning drugs and alcohol, said Anna Beth Payne, clinical coordinator of the Counseling and Student Development Center.

enley said another survey will be conducted in the future. “This is an ongoing process that will require student cooperation,” she said.

The surveys are part of the environmental intervention component of the four-component grant proposal. The other three components are education, evaluation, and assesment and intervention.

A committee of the University Council, which was set up to study substance abuse policy, originated the idea for the surveys. The committee also developed a brochure detailing NIU’s substance abuse services.

enley said the university is searching for a certified addictions counselor who will work with students who think they might have a substance abuse problem. The counselor also will work in conjuction with the development center and the Office of Health Enhancement Services to provide NIU with additional assistance and educational programs on alcohol and drug abuse.