Ferszt, Ginette, G
Nursing, College of
substance use; addiction; alcohol; college
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The incidence of substance use has been increasing at an alarming rate and declared a public health epidemic. Certain subpopulations, including the collegiate population, are at an increased risk for developing a substance use disorder. According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 22.9% of college students meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. This rate is markedly high compared to the rate amongst the general public of 8.5%. A number of factors predispose college students to alcohol and substance use disorders. These factors include increased freedom, social pressures, and high-demand academic workload. Despite the scope of the problem, resources to combat the issue are inadequate. Likewise, the existing resources are difficult to access. In order to address this important health problem, preventative strategies must be effectively utilized. Efforts must be made to assist this significantly underserved population. The purpose of this project is to increase access to campus-based substance use prevention resources at the University of Rhode Island. This author partnered with leaders from several campus departments with the mutual goal of easing access to resources for our college students. Despite this issue being recognized by the University for years, coordinating improvement efforts remains a challenge. Barriers to improving access were examined which included impaired interdepartmental communication, limited monetary resources, and difficulty recruiting affected individuals. In conjunction with University staff, efforts were made to consolidate resources, improve web-based health information, and better reach the target population. These efforts are an integral step in best serving University of Rhode Island community members who are affected by substance abuse.