Highlights from the 2012 NASPA Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and Intervention Conference

Atlanta Marriott Marquis atrium

Atlanta Marriott Marquis atrium

A few weeks ago, four MyStudentBody team members attended the 2012 NASPA Alcohol Abuse Prevention & Intervention Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a great conference and we learned a lot as well as talked with dozens of dedicated, passionate college alcohol and other drug professionals.

This conference, as if you couldn’t tell by the title, is “designed to address emerging issues in…alcohol and other drug prevention as they relate to student affairs, and to showcase effective policy development, thereby serving a wide range of institutional audiences, from those who are integrating and modifying policies and structure to those who would like to improve their current practices.”

That’s the conference program’s fancy way of saying that it helps departments come together to determine how to prevent and intervene on alcohol and other drug abuse among college students. It also gives students affairs professionals the skills they need to be successful.

We’ve been to this conference before. It’s SUPER informative and fits right in with MyStudentBody’s goal as a complete online alcohol, drugs, and sexual violence prevention program. It also gives us some time to meet current clients and puts faces to names, which is always fun.

This year we got to meet people from University of Georgia, University of West Georgia, Stevenson University, Kennesaw State University, Dartmouth College, State University of New York Oswego, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Agnes Scott College, St. Joseph’s University, Warren Wilson College, and Winston-Salem State University. Phew! A lot of our enthusiastic clients came to see us and it was really great to connect with them.

They agreed with us that there were some differences in the conference this year. At many past conferences, there was a focus on sexual violence/assault prevention and social norming. While these topics were certainly discussed, we and our clients found that this year’s conference was particularly centered on interdepartmental collaboration, suicide prevention, recovery programs, and addressing specific populations or subgroups of students.

That last topic, addressing subgroups of students, is especially important. Why? Funny you should ask because Emil Chiauzzi, Ph.D., our Vice President of Product Strategy, Pronabesh DasMahapatra, our biostatistician, and Beth DeRicco, consultant at DeRicco Consulting, presented on this very subject. The title of the presentation is “Tailoring Prevention Strategies: Are There Subgroups That We Have Not Considered?” and you can view the full presentation by clicking below.

A synopsis: It is critical to find ways to identify college students who are engaged in risky drinking behaviors so that prevention and intervention efforts can be targeted. This presentation is based on an innovative analysis of substance use data provided by 22,000 incoming U.S. college students. A four-group model that encompasses key indicators such a drinking patterns, risks, consequences, protective factors, marijuana use, and nonmedical prescription medication use is reviewed. Practical strategies for addressing these subgroups are also discussed.

Additionally, Tyler Achilles, our Product Coordinator, did a poster presentation on “Best Practices for Achieving a 90% Response Rate for an Alcohol and Drug Survey.” The poster is below and you can click the picture to view a PDF.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but the key here is: although you may already be using many of these strategies to increase response rates to non-mandated surveys, making little tweaks in your process can have a huge influence. As briefly outlined in the poster, Stetson University was able to achieve a 90% response rate to its MyStudentBody survey by using these strategies, even though it’s not required. Wow! If you would like to consult with Tyler on the findings, feel free to email him or tweet him (he loves tweets!).

Well, that’s all folks. Let us know what you thought about the conference (if you attended) or our presentations in the comments.