Ohio State launches drug and alcohol abuse course for freshmen

Ohio State will require incoming freshmen and transfer students to take an educational course focused on drugs and alcohol starting this fall. Credit: Jack Westerheide

Ohio State will require incoming freshmen and transfer students to take an educational course focused on drugs and alcohol starting this fall.

University President Kristina M. Johnson announced in a university-wide email Tuesday that the online educational program will cover drug abuse prevention, drug abuse prevention prescription drugs and mental well-being. Students must complete the course to enroll in classes, Johnson said.

According to a press release, the modules will teach students about the recent increase in opioid overdoses on college campuses. Students can access the course by Buckeyelearn.

This program comes after three Ohio State students were hospitalized after an off-campus overdose in May. Overdoses killed two people. Around this time, fake Adderall pills containing fentanyl were found around Ohio State’s Columbus campus, leading to an increase in overdoses and hospitalizations, according to Columbus Public Health.

According to a 2018 Ohio State Study, about 16% of college students admitted to abusing stimulants — drugs that speed up brain activity — including Adderall, said Julie Teater, an Ohio State psychiatrist. These drugs can cause side effects that can impair cognitive abilities if mixed with alcohol or not prescribed, she said.

Shawnté Elbert, associate vice president for health and wellness at the Office of Student Life, said in the statement that the data shows an increased need for education about alcohol and drug abuse.

“These educational models are a prime opportunity to help prepare our students for a safe and healthy Buckeye experience,” Elbert said in the release.

According to a Fall 2021 National College Health Assessment, about 67% of the 23,600 respondents said they had consumed alcohol. About 36% said they took non-prescribed cannabis and 6.5% said they took non-prescribed stimulants, such as Adderall.

Ohio State currently requires incoming freshmen to take courses on sexual misconduct and hazing.

The course is available to any student who wishes to take it, Johnson said.

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