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Project combats unhealthy drinking habits at Thompson-Okanagan post-secondary schools

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February 29, 2016 - 4:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – Post secondary schools around the Thompson-Okanagan are taking a hard look at promoting healthier drinking habits among students. 

Okanagan College, Thomson Rivers University and the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus are all participating in a project called Changing the Culture of Substance Abuse. The provincial government announced $400,000 in funding for 11 institutions participating in the initiative Monday, Feb. 29.

In Vernon, Okanagan College is using the funding for a survey to assess campus culture related to drugs and alcohol, and the impact they have on sexual violence.

“The primary purpose of this survey is to begin a stigma-free reflective dialogue around substance use and to hear students’ ideas on how Okanagan College, Vernon campus, can promote and maintain a healthy campus culture,” college counsellor Derrick Doige said in a media release.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster added helping young people avoid the destruction of substance abuse is essential.

“This Vernon-based project will help us to better understand drug and alcohol use by students and equip institutions and students with knowledge to combat sexual violence,” Foster said.

At Thompson Rivers University, the focus will be on changing the culture of drinking in residence using the Drink with Class campaign, targeting students during their first six weeks in residence with multiple strategies to encourage responsible drinking.

In Kelowna, UBCO Okanagan will work on engaging students and campus stakeholders to better understand mental health and substance use needs on campus and promoting a healthy campus environment.

“Excessive use of alcohol can negatively affect a student’s post-secondary experience and lead to future challenges with addiction,” Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission, said in a media release. “Projects like this one at UBC Okanagan will help encourage moderation and other healthy choices that can last a lifetime.”

The 2013 National College Health Assessment Canadian survey reported 39 per cent of students who drank alcohol in the last year said they later regretted something they did when drinking, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick pointed out.

“It’s vital that we help promote healthier relationships with alcohol among students,” he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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