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Diageo funds program to combat alcohol abuse by college students

October 22, 2010
by Press Release
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Norwalk, CT — Diageo, the world's leading premium spirits, beer and wine company, and a leader in the fight against underage drinking, announced today that it will provide funding to Sacred Heart University to support ongoing implementation of a program designed to combat alcohol misuse among college students. The program, called "Brief Alcohol Screening Intervention for College Students" (BASICS), is an evidenced-based harm reduction approach to help reduce risky behaviors among college students. Following its 2009 launch through funding, in part, from the US.. Department of Education, the program risked premature closure but, with Diageo's grant of $5,000, will be able to continue operating through the first half of 2011.

Diageo was the first beverage alcohol company to directly support the training of physicians in screening and brief intervention techniques through an unrestricted grant to the Medical Society of the State of New York to train its membership. Diageo is currently working to encourage wider use in other settings. In Sacred Heart University's BASICS program, students are asked a series of alcohol use screening questions designed to help identify those students whose drinking is already a problem, or whose drinking pattern may lead to issues in the future. Students considered to be at risk receive brief motivational enhancement interventions, in both individual and group settings. During its first year of operation, the program has already had a demonstrable impact on student drinking behavior, according to evaluation reports from the University. Since its implementation in the fall of 2009, nearly 300 students have already benefited from the BASICS program. Diageo's grant will directly enable the creation of materials needed to implement, support and market the BASICS program going forward and will also be utilized to develop and implement an evaluation of the BASICS strategy on Sacred Heart's campus.

Guy L. Smith, Executive Vice President, Diageo North America, said: "Diageo is committed to supporting innovative solutions that reduce alcohol misuse and encourage responsible drinking. That is why we are proud to partner with Sacred Heart University to further their work in providing evidenced-based prevention strategies to combat high risk dangerous drinking behaviors among college students. We view the preservation of this meaningful program as a first step, and we look forward to building on this partnership."

"Diageo's dedication to fighting underage drinking and promoting responsible drinking made them a natural partner for us," said Janice Kessler, Alcohol and Drug Coordinator, Sacred Heart University. "We are grateful for Diageo's support of our mission to lower the incidence of high risk drinking at college through this important program."

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