Ohio College Initiative to Enhance Student Wellness

From its origin in 1996, the goal of the Ohio College Initiative to Enhance Student Wellness has been to reduce high-risk drinking and substance misuse through campus and community collaborations and the implementation of strategies to promote healthier campus environments.

Alcohol and drug misuse have been shown to increase a student’s risk of experiencing negative consequences such as assaults, injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and declining academic performance.

OCI Member Schools


OCI is led by its member schools and supports campus and community coalitions that work to change the substance-related culture that can negatively impact students. The initiative focuses on these primary strategies:

  • Educating behavioral health coordinators on campuses on up-to-date evidence-based practices
  • Improving social, recreation and academic options
  • Limiting substance availability
  • Increasing consistent enforcement of laws and policies
  • Creating a health-promoting environment

In addition to these, the Ohio College Initiative offers training programs, resources, support, and networking opportunities for member schools.

To learn more, become a member or sign up for the Ohio College Initiative newsletter, contact OCI Coordinator and Community Liaison Tyler Begley at 614-540-9985, ext. 19 or at TBegley@PreventionActionAlliance.org.

Higher Education General Calendar of Events

  • New Student Programming (Aug.)
  • Fraternity and Sorority Rush and Membership Recruitment (Sept.)
  • National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Sept.)
  • National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (Oct.)
  • National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (Oct.)
  • Parent and Family Weekend (varies)
  • Homecoming (varies)
  • Great American Smoke out (Nov.)
  • National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (Dec.)
  • Spring Semester kick-off (Jan.)
  • Great American Spit Out (Feb.)
  • National Problem Gambling Awareness Week (Mar.)
  • National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week (Mar.)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (Mar.)
  • Kick Butts Day (Mar.)
  • Safe Spring Break (varies)
  • National Alcohol Screening Day (Apr.)
  • World No Tobacco Day (May)
  • Clean Air Month (May)

Parent Information

Understanding Your Influence

Parents often think that what they say doesn’t matter when it comes to their child’s alcohol or drug use, but research strongly shows that parents have influence in these choices.

An in-depth analysis of Outside the Classroom’s AlcoholEdu for College National Survey Database showed that students whose parents shared messages encouraging the avoidance of alcohol and the adoption of healthy alternatives were less likely to use alcohol and experience negative consequences from alcohol (2010).

Parents can take an active role in preventing high-risk drinking and its negative consequences.

  • Spend time talking with your student.  Get and share the facts about high-risk drinking and drug use.  Be sure to listen to the student and remember that lecturing doesn’t work.
  • Make your expectations extremely clear by providing clear no-use messages regarding underage drinking and drug use and set the expectation of making low-risk alcohol choices for students of legal drinking age.  Communicate the risks and consequences associated with high-risk drinking and drug use.
  • Model good behaviors concerning alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications, and illicit drugs.  Refrain from glamorizing use of these substances.
  • Encourage community service and other healthy activities as a way to spend time and money.
  • Stay involved and stay in touch with your student. Inquire about classes, friends and extracurricular activities to show your interest.
  • Remember, you know your student best – be alert to identifying crisis early by watching for drops in grades or deterioration of family relationships.

Consequences of High-Risk Drinking

  • 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex (Hingson et al., 2002).
  • About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Engs et al., 1996; Presley et al., 1996a, 1996b; Wechsler et al., 2002).
  • More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem (Hingson et al., 2002), and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use (Presley et al., 1998).
  • 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol (Wechsler et al., 2002).
  • More than 25 percent of administrators from schools with relatively low drinking levels and over 50 percent from schools with high drinking levels say their campuses have a “moderate” or “major” problem with alcohol-related property damage (Wechsler et al., 1995).
  • About 5 percent of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking (Wechsler et al., 2002), and  110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence (Hingson et al., 2002).
  • 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence in the past 12 months, according to questionnaire-based self-reports about their drinking (Knight et al., 2002).

Consequences of Illicit Drug Use

  • Unintentional drug overdoses were the leading cause of injury deaths in 2012 and caused more deaths than motor vehicle crashes (CDC, 2014).
  • Chronic marijuana use during teens years has shown to cause an 8 point drop in IQ (Meier et al., 2012).
  • Illicit drug use has been attributed to disruptions in college enrollment and failure to graduate (Arria et al., 2013).
  • One large study found that one in four marijuana using college students met the criteria for marijuana dependence (Caldeira et al., 2008).
  • One in ten people between the ages of 18 and 24 have driven under the influence of illicit drugs. (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • College students who misuse prescription stimulants are more likely to have a lower grade point average, skip class more frequently, and spend less time studying.  They are also more likely to be heavy drinkers and use other illicit drugs (Arria & DuPont, 2010).

Know the Laws

Ohio Colleges support all federal, state and local laws regarding alcohol, misuse of prescription drugs, and use of marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Alcohol Laws

  • It is illegal for people under age 21 to drink or possess any alcoholic beverage.
  • It is illegal for any person to possess an open container of alcohol in a public place or in a motor vehicle.
  • It is illegal for any person to possess, create, sell or distribute a fake ID.  This is a 4th degree felony.
  • It is illegal to buy, share the cost or provide alcohol to persons under age 21.
  • It is illegal for people under 21 with a blood alcohol content of .02 or higher to operate a motor vehicle.
  • It is illegal to knowingly allow a person under 21, other than your own child, to remain in your home or on your property while consuming or possessing alcohol.
  • It is illegal as a parent, to give alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21 under any circumstance, even in your own home, even with their parent’s permission.

Additional Parent Resources


Resource Agencies & Organizations

Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention & Recovery

The premier alcohol and drug misuse prevention and recovery resource for colleges and universities across the nation.  HECAOD is a collaboration between Ohio State’s College of Social Work, College of Pharmacy, Office of Student Life, Generation Rx Initiative, and the Collegiate Recovery Community.


An agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA )

Provides leadership in the national effort to reduce alcohol-related problems by: conducting and supporting research in a wide range of scientific areas including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, health risks and benefits of alcohol consumption, prevention, and treatment; coordinating and collaborating with other research institutes and Federal Programs on alcohol-related issues; collaborating with international, national, state, and local institutions, organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work; translating and disseminating research findings to health care providers, researchers, policymakers, and the public.

Rethinking Drinking : Alcohol & Your Health

A program of NIAAA geared towards adults who drink more than low-risk guidelines.  Rethinking Drinking provides evidence-based information for all of these people, along with support for making a change.


CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov is your one-stop resource for comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students and is a resource of NIAAA.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

NIDA’s mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.  This charge has two critical components. The first is the strategic support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines. The second is ensuring the rapid and effective dissemination and use of the results of that research to significantly improve prevention and treatment and to inform policy as it relates to drug abuse and addiction.

American College Health Association

Provides an array of programs and services that address the many health issues affecting this important group, including alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, nutrition, sexual health, violence, vaccine preventable diseases, and mental health and geared for those working in college health to promote and maintain the health and well-being of the nation’s post-secondary students.

NASPA Alcohol & Other Drug Knowledge Community

Provides an institutionalized and ongoing structure within NASPA to discuss issues around alcohol and other drugs on campus and serves as a resource for both members of NASPA and other alcohol and drug focused groups that are addressing this ever-present issue in environments.


A membership organization of over 5,000 anti-drug coalitions, each working to make their community safe, healthy, and drug-free.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

Includes a renewed emphasis on community-based prevention programs, early intervention programs in healthcare settings, aligning criminal justice policies and public health systems to divert non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail, funding scientific research on drug use, and, through the Affordable Care Act, expanding access to substance abuse treatment.

National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors

Serves as a focal point for the examination of alcohol and other drug related issues of common interest to both other national organizations and federal agencies.

Join Together

A collaboration of the Boston University School of Public Health and The Partnership at Drugfree.org, dedicated to advancing effective drug and alcohol policy, prevention and treatment.


Smokefree.gov provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking.

Fact Sheets

Alcohol Use & College

Negative Consequences of High-Risk Drinking


Prescription Drug Misuse


Other Drugs