Oct. 14, 1993
Vol. 13, No. 4

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    ADAPT: New strategies for drug and alcohol awareness

    ADAPT, the University's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team, begins its second year on campus with new strategies for prompting members of the University community to think before using drugs or alcohol.

    "As we start our second year, we feel we have exceeded our hopes for establishing ADAPT as a viable and important team player in the coordinated and comprehensive approach to student life on this campus," said Morton Silverman, Associate Dean of Students and ADAPT program director. "Now we have to keep proactive thinking on the agenda. We have to continue to provide the stimulus for people to consider their behavior and its consequences."

    Preliminary methods for focusing attention on the correlations between drinking and unsafe sex, drinking and automobile accidents and drinking and poor grades, for example, included distributing a standardized drug and alcohol abuse survey to undergraduate and graduate students on campus last year. Nine hundred people -- nearly 10 percent of the student population -- received the survey, which was distributed through the combined efforts of the Statistics Department, the National Opinion Research Center and ADAPT. The results of the survey will be distributed this quarter.

    "As part of a prevention program, we have to know where we stand," said Doug Culbert, co-director of ADAPT. "The challenge we face now is to find programming that works for this university's particular culture."

    One such program will be a symposium, "Toward a Rational Drug Policy," on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12 and 13. Co-sponsored by ADAPT and the Legal Forum, a Law School organization, the symposium's speakers will include Lee Brown, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Mathea Falco, a drug prevention policy analyst. The symposium will be free and open to the public.

    "We think symposia such as 'Toward a Rational Drug Policy' are good examples of how the University works," Culbert said. "This is a thinking community, and we want people to think about these issues in terms of their own lives."

    In keeping with the idea that people need to make individual decisions about drug and alcohol use, ADAPT has arranged for Falco to speak at the University during a presymposium workshop. She will lead a public discussion of substance-abuse prevention on college campuses at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, before her keynote address that afternoon. For more information on the presymposium workshop, call Sarah Warren, co-director of ADAPT, at 702-3784.

    "ADAPT has a dual mandate," Culbert said. "We hope to stimulate reflection about drug and alcohol issues. This is a primary goal of the symposium. Secondly, through education we hope to assist people in assessing the role that drugs and alcohol will play in their lives." An example of this latter effort is "The Balancing Act: A Student Guide to Wellness at the University of Chicago," a 20-page handbook that was distributed during Orientation Week. The booklet, produced in conjunction with the University Health Service Peer Health Education Program, discusses such issues as alcohol abuse, acquaintance rape and safer sex.

    Another contribution that ADAPT made to the community during Orientation Week was a collaborative dramatic performance called "Health Talk with B. Well." Produced in conjunction with University Theater and the UHS Peer Health Education Program, the show was entirely student-written, student-run and then student-performed before an audience of more than a thousand people.

    "The 'B. Well' performance is one example of collaboration among student-focused groups on campus," Silverman said. "It's all part of an ongoing, coordinated effort to address the health and welfare of our students."

    ADAPT welcomes student involvement. "If students want to become involved, we're more than happy to have them contribute in whatever way they feel they can," Silverman said.

    "Student creativity is essential in a program like ADAPT," Culbert added. "All of our activities to date have included student input."

    A meeting for interested students is being planned. For more information, call 702-DRUG.