Drug project takes shape

By Mark Indreika

Plans were set in motion Friday to begin coordinating and organizing the implementation of a two-year $70,000 grant proposal designed to help NIU expand its drug assessment and education programs.

Earlier this month, NIU received the grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education, allowing it to expand on its drug abuse program.

At its first meeting of the year, the advisory committee for the grant discussed the various components of the new proposal. The committee consists of representatives from many of the offices and groups who are participating in the proposal’s implementation.

Barbara Henley, assistant vice president for student affairs and chairman of the committee, said there will be four components to the proposal: education, environmental intervention, evaluation, and assessment and intervention.

The education component mandates an evaluation of current educational programs on campus, the development of materials outlining the findings of student surveys on drug and alcohol usage, and the review and revision of NIU’s policy on drug and alcohol usage.

The environmental intervention component calls for research through the use of two surveys, peer mentoring and faculty in-service training.

The surveys will measure student norms and the prevalence of drug and alcohol usage on campus.

Peer mentoring is students helping other students with substance abuse problems.

NIU faculty and staff also will be trained in drug and alcohol assessment and prevention techniques.

Evaluation requires that the design and implementation of the entire program be discussed before anything is done. An examination of the program also is mandated once the grant has expired.

Assessment of and intervention with students who think they might have a substance abuse problem will be done by a certified addictions counselor hired by NIU, Anna Beth Payne, clinical coordinator of the Counseling and Student Development Center, said.

enley said the new counselor also will be responsible for implementing many other aspects of the entire proposal.