A new report has highlighted the positive outcomes of an alcohol abuse program in Batesville, Indiana that promotes prevention among adolescents in Franklin and Ripley counties.
For the last few years, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville (CDFB) has been operating EverFi’s AlcoholEdu For High School, an online alcohol abuse program to educate students at Batesville High School and Oldenburg Academy on how to avoid alcohol abuse and addiction.
“The program started being used in 2014 in our community when we received funding from the Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction,” said the CDFB director Kim Linkel. “It was determined we wanted to focus on the freshmen as they entered high school so they could get a better grasp on how each decision they make will indeed impact their future. We worked with Batesville High School and Oldenburg Academy to see how each school would be able to best implement the program and it was determined it would be merged into their health curriculum.”
A nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from September 2016 to December 2017 revealed that 29.8 percent of high school students used alcohol and 43.5 percent of them received it from someone they knew.
The survey highlighted that 5.5 percent of the students who drove a vehicle reported that they had driven while having had an alcoholic drink in the same day. More than 60 percent of students stated that they consumed alcohol at least once in their lives and 15.5 percent that they drank before the age of 13. It was revealed that 13.5 percent of students had partaken in binge drinking while 4.4 percent had drank 10 or more alcoholic drinks in a row.
The recent statistics influenced the CDFB to institute an alcohol abuse program with the intention of educating youths on the hazards of alcohol use.
The Batesville Community School Corporation, the school district where Batesville High School and Oldenburg Academy are located in, published a report that highlighted that 239 students had been assisted by AlcoholEdu for High School throughout the 2017-2018 school year.
It was reported that after completing the program, 88 percent of students avoided riding in a vehicle with someone who had drank; 87 percent had stopped a friend from driving drunk; 85 percent were able to resist peer pressure to drink alcohol, and 78 percent were able to identify when someone had drank too much.
“We continue to have downward trends on 30-day alcohol use,” Linkel said. “We do not feel that the program is the sole reason for this, but it is one of multiple strategies across multiple sectors being implemented throughout our community.”
She highlighted that her organization focused heavily on alcohol because it is the most accessible substance in their community.
“By implementing the program in the schools, we know that we are touching each and every student and not just ones that choose to partake in our programs,” Linkel said.
The Batesville Community School Corporation highlighted seven core principles for success for this alcohol abuse program: conduct a needs assessment, avoid the use of scare tactics, interject prevention into other subjects, create comprehensive efforts, engage teachers, provide alcohol addiction recovery for students at risk and evaluate the efforts of the alcohol abuse program.
“I would encourage [teenagers] to really think about where they want to be in 5 years, 10 years,” Linkel said. “Many times dreams and futures are shattered due to substance use. Additionally, I would educate them that alcohol is simply a starting substance for many youth, as most youth that use at an early age go on to more dangerous drugs and don’t stop with the use of alcohol.”