IBHE joins drug education effort

By Pam Schmidt

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has joined the nationwide effort to eliminate the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol by recommending Illinois universities be required to make efforts to educate and prevent drug use on campuses.

An IBHE report states Illinois universities should develop a “comprehensive approach to the problem and include provisions for education against illegal drug use and alcohol abuse for administrators, faculty, staff and students.”

Jon Dalton, NIU vice president for Student Affairs, said a task force was formed last semester to evaluate and recommend specific policies for NIU. The committee currently is working to write a proposal for a campus-wide program. The four areas being evaluated are: prevention, intervention, treatment and aftercare.

Dalton said the university has already implemented several programs through the Health Enhancement Center for the prevention of drug abuse. The committee also is working with the University Health Center, student counseling offices, the personnel office and the University Council.

Although NIU already is making an effort to offer preventative education, “more needs to be done,” Dalton said. “We need to make sure we have in place a program to assist and educate the students and staff at NIU who have problems with drug abuse,” he said.

Dalton said NIU’s policy of referring drug and alcohol abusers to support groups and clinics probably would not change, although he said he hoped there would be less need for treatment once the programs were implemented.

NIU does not need to legislate more regulations, but it needs to develop a more comprehensive approach for preventative education and a stronger emphasis on treatment services, Dalton said.

The IBHE recommendations are a result of information presented earlier this semester at a statewide conference on illegal drugs and alcohol on college campuses. If the IBHE passes the recommendations on May 5, Illinois universities might be required to implement policies and educational programs encouraging the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse on campus.

Universities would be required to send an evaluation of the programs to the IBHE by May 1, 1988.

Dalton said although a comprehensive plan will not be ready by the fall semester, the university should be able to implement the plan fully by the spring.