John Steiner has been named program manager for the UNM Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention or COSAP announced Barbara McCrady, director, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA).
"We had a strong applicant pool, but John was the ideal candidate," said McCrady. "He is experienced at UNM and has a vision for the future for COSAP to provide continued leadership in preventing harm from alcohol and drug use. We are fortunate to have him."
"CASAA has been operating the program since 1992," said Steiner. "Since then, COSAP has had two program managers including Bo Miller and Jill Anne Yeagley, and was formed with the help of Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry Dr. William R. Miller of CASAA. "I'm fortunate to be picking up where they left off. With CASAA's support, I have a strong group of researchers and resources at my back to help synthesize programs and to help take COSAP to the next stage."
Since its inception on July 1, 1992, the UNM Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention has been under supervision and administration of the Prevention Division of the UNM Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA). COSAP is charged with two broad objectives:
• Ensure UNM's compliance with federal regulations related to substance abuse including the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the higher education provisions of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act; and
• Coordinate, enhance, and develop substance abuse prevention programs for the benefit of students and all members of the campus community in conjunction with existing UNM and community services
Steiner says with CASAA's wealth of resources, he plans to take COSAP to the next stage. "I'd like to take UNM and COSAP into the upper strata of universities in the prevention of college alcoholism; to use our resources for programs that break new ground and that are effective, and to see students achieve the success they come here to attain."
In addition to maintaining a web site featuring information on alcohol and other drugs, interactive programs including a blood alcohol content (BAC) calculator, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test to help students identify their level of alcohol-related risk, a Behavioral Self-Control program to help make changes, and the Electronic Check-Up-To-Go alcohol screening tool, some of Steiner's plans include increased student oriented informational methods as well as an expanded social media presence.
"Student employees are a major part of our strength," said Steiner. "We need to make sure we are communicating at the student level and provide more student services to help take care of what they need. Students are seeking us out more than in the past several years. Our plan is to do more on the web because that's where the students are, but we also see an amazing increase in students just knocking on our door. What we need to be doing is serving students, but we also want students to help support our cause in any way they can."
Last year Steiner released a report by the New Mexico Higher Education Prevention Consortium on student use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs at seven state higher education institutions. The report, written by COSAP, was the first-ever statewide survey of college alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use in New Mexico.
The purpose of the report was to present New Mexico Student Lifestyles Survey data on ATOD prevalence, binge drinking, academic/other negative consequences associated with alcohol use, drinking and driving, underage access to alcohol, risky alcohol consumption locations and student protective behaviors.
"Many New Mexico college students who drink are choosing safe behaviors such as using designated drivers and moderating their drinking," said Steiner. "However, students also report behaviors often associated with serious consequences, academic problems and the development of continuing substance abuse problems that can negatively impact their post college lives.
To view the report visit: http://www.unm.edu/news/2010/february/newsreleases/NM%20HEPC.pdf.
COSAP also received a small NCAA CHOICESgrant to work with student-athletes, which also covers all undergraduate students, to reduce substance abuse. COSAP is working with UNM Athletics on CHOICES to implement new prevention programs.
"There's never going to be a magic bullet in prevention," said Steiner. "Approximately one-third of students who drop out of college do so because of alcohol and other drug abuse. We need to get that number down because it's a tragedy."
Steiner has been at UNM for 13 years including serving as COSAP Student Employee, graduate assistant, Health Educator and the NM Higher Education Prevention Consortium's project's director. He has a BS in Psychology and Biology and an MPH in Public Health with an epidemiology track.
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