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October 13, 2005

UCSD Program To Curb High-Risk Drinking
By Students Wins Award From Auto Club

By Pat JaCoby

An innovative new program designed by UCSD Psychological and Counseling Services to reduce high-risk alcohol use by students has won honors from the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Center for College Health and Safety.

As regional winner in the “College and University Drinking and Driving Prevention Award” contest, UCSD received a check and plaque during a presentation in Rimac Arena. The award was accepted by Joseph Watson, vice chancellor of Student

“UCSD’s program is impressive, consisting of a comprehensive, multi-stepped treatment approach with increasing intervention activities if student problems grow more serious,” noted Steven Bloch, senior research associate for the Auto Club and program coordinator. “This is an evidence-based approach with data showing its effectiveness in reducing high risk drinking.”

Jerry Phelps, clinical psychologist and director of the program, said the Substance/Alcohol Feedback and Education (SAFE) program utilizes a technique called Motivational Enhancement that assists individuals in resolving ambivalence through enhancing intrinsic motivation to change. This approach was developed to intervene with at-risk students using increasingly intensive levels of intervention for different severity levels of high risk student drinkers.

The four components of the SAFE program include: screening days during high alcohol use times (spring break) when students complete substance abuse-related questionnaires to identify high-risk drinkers; a web-based, alcohol screening questionnaire that allows students to identify their own alcohol problems, teaches harm reduction and provides referrals; referral of students who violate alcohol policy to trained peer educators for individualized screening feedback and education, and counseling for students wishing to deal with alcohol problems.

The Auto Club and the Center for College Health and Safety developed the award program eight years ago to recognize campus programs and activities that reduce drinking and driving or prevent alcohol and other drug use that can result in impaired driving.

Media contact: Pat JaCoby, (858) 534-7404


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