Eliot Circular

Preventing Drug Abuse

As part of its mission to care for its students and provide an outstanding academic experience, Reed is constantly seeking ways to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug abuse. At the invitation of Dean Mike Brody, an expert panel visited Reed in April to take a look at the college’s practices and make recommendations.

The panelists included Beth DeRicco, director of wellness and prevention services at the University of Connecticut; Jason Kilmer, assistant director of health and wellness for alcohol and other drug education at the University of Washington; Mary Larimer, professor of psychiatry at the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors at the University of Washington; Melissa Lewis, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington; and Linda Major, assistant to the vice chancellor at the University of Nebraska.

Following the tragic drug-related deaths of two students since 2008, Reed has stepped up its efforts in education, prevention, and enforcement, with a particular focus on stress management, which research shows to have strong preventive benefits. (See our article Finding Balance). Specific initiatives include:

• Mandatory sessions on alcohol and drugs during O-week, followed by presentations through the year led by peers, staff, and outside experts.

• A wellness coordinator who leads a peer health advocacy program and coordinates health promotion resources.

• A “wellness website,” including online tools designed to help students assess their drinking and marijuana use.

• An improved health and counseling center with more clinicians, a wider range of services, a stress reduction room, acupuncture, and naturopathy.

• Thoughtful and consistent enforcement of Reed’s AOD policy.

For more about stress management at Reed, see “Finding Balance” in Reed December 2010. For more about AOD policy, see www.reed.edu/academic/gbook/comm_pol/drug_policy.html