Alcohol & Drug Counseling, Assessment, & Prevention Services

Washington State University ADCAPS

WSU Alcohol & Drug Policies

What is effective in reducing substance abuse and the related negative consequences by college students? A surprisingly complex question…….
What research tells us about substance use policies and enforcement strategies:
  • Underage students in states with extensive laws restricting underage and high-volume drinking are less likely to drink and to binge drink(Wechsler, et. al, 2002).
  • MADD report: Ratings of resource investment in law enforcements were related negatively to the level of binge drinking among underage student (i.e.,higher investment was associated with less binge drinking).
  • A combined and consistent implementation of education, enforcement, and community/health services (environmental management or multi-strategy approaches) can reduce substance abuse and alcohol-related problems among college students (Toomey, et al, 2007; Wechsler, et al, 2002.
    • If one approach/strategy is used without the others, efforts toward reducing substance abuse and the negative consequences will not be as effective (accidents, crime, property damage, injury, sexual assault, physical assault/fights, etc).
    • Some approaches/strategies may create enough of an environmental change by themselves to affect a significant reduction in substance abuse among college students (ban on substance use in campus residences).
    • Some approaches/strategies may need to be implemented in combination with others to be effective (server training combined with consistentcompliance checks and sanctions).
    • More research is needed to understand the most effective combinations


  • Consistent enforcement is a vital part of keeping the Pullman community healthy and safe
  • Education and community/health servicesare less effective without the presence of enforcement in the community.
  • Cooperation between campus and community services is important to maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment

ADCAPS - Alcohol & Drug Counseling, Assessment, & Prevention Services, WSU Counseling Services, 280 Lighty Student Services Building. Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1065 | (509) 335-4511 |