Students discuss breaking college drinking norms

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Is everybody doing it? That was the main question posed in the first Pacific event funded by the Washington County Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant.

“College students will continue to drink at whatever rate of consumption, but I feel that all that attended came out more knowledgeable in the matter,” said Mellissa Wilson. “I learned a lot about how people perceive drinking compared to what it actually is.”

That’s the basic goal of this five-year grant. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, its aim is to halting binge-drinking behavior. The grant’s target audience is young adults ranging from 12-years-old to 25-years-old.

About 15 Pacific students came to answer the question of the night and fit that age group.

While a few attendees admitted to being convinced to attend because of the promise of free pizza and an incentive raffle for a $100 Visa gift card, or as supports for a friend, every student participated in the group activities the substance abuse prevention instructor had planned.

While the number of students was small, the irony of this event being hosting on a friday night didn’t go unnoticed.

“To spend a friday night learning about health, really, learning about yourself is breaking the norm,” said Nigel Wrangham, substance abuse prevention program instructor for the University of Oregon. “Going outside the norm is an extremely brave thing to do.”

Wrangham is a certified alcohol and drug counselor and certified prevention specialist in the field since 1990. But it was his engaging presence that helped the audience further realize the effects of alcohol.

“I was really shocked and impressed with how great of a speaker he was,” said Wilson. “I feel that his lecture was very helpful and he gave some really great information.”

The lecture covered alcohol and it’s relation to students’ brains, perception, muscles, marketing, social norms, and future.

Campus Wellness hosted the event by utilizing the SPF-SIG. The grant’s ultimate goal is to reduce the substance abuse-related problems in communities.

For more information or assistance with alcohol related concerns contact Staci Hallanzzini the campus wellness coordinator at or 503-352-2273.


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