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Higher Education Center Receives Grant to Reduce Collegiate Impaired Driving

The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery (HECAOD) at The Ohio State University has received a grant from the Ohio Traffic Safety Office to develop and implement impaired driving prevention strategies targeting college-age students in Ohio. HECAOD has partnered with RADD®-Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving to develop a comprehensive program engaging students both on and off-campus.

It is estimated that nearly 2 million college students between the ages of 18-24 have driven under the influence of alcohol in the past year and driving under the influence of cannabis and prescription medications is on the rise. To reduce the number of college students driving while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, HECAOD has partnered with RADD to develop a media campaign that encourages them to look out for their friends’ well-being and ensure everyone has a safe ride home.

In addition to a web and social media presence, an interactive RADD experience will be featured at concert venues in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland to engage concert attendees. Campuses in each of those cities have been identified to serve as pilot sites for the initiative and will implement activities on their campuses that complement the larger campaign. 

“Impaired driving is an important topic for people of all ages, including college students. This initiative looks to provide engaging materials and messages to college students,” said Brandy Reeves, who serves as the director of the Student Wellness Center at the University of Cincinnati. The University of Cincinnati is joined by The Ohio State University and Cleveland State University as pilot campuses for this initiative.

“By working with the three pilot campuses, we will be able to develop a collegiate impaired-driving prevention guidebook that helps campuses integrate the RADD-themed messaging into prevention programming. Content included in the guidebook will complement activities taking place at concert venues and will also provide strategies for how campuses can move the RADD message beyond their campus and into their community,” shared Dr. Jim Lange, Executive Director of the Higher Education Center. “Once the guidebook is developed, we look forward to sharing it with other colleges and universities through the state of Ohio, and eventually across the country.”

“Impaired driving crashes are senseless, preventable deaths.  The “cure” is promoting better decision-making and broader awareness of risk. This exciting new campaign brings together HECAOD’s programming expertise, the resources of major Ohio campus systems and prominent Ohio music venues to create model “RADD experiences” that encourage students to share the depth of their passion for music with friends in a caring space that includes making sure everyone has safe ride home, “ said Erin Dugan Meluso, RADD President.

For more information, contact Cindy Clouner at clouner.2@osu.edu.

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