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April 11, 2001

Substance Abuse Among Illinois College Students Lower Than National Average

CHICAGO -- First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today announced the results of a study that shows the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs among Illinois college students is lower than the national average. Joining Mrs. Ryan in the announcement were the Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS), Linda ReneƩ Baker, and Becky Markwell, Director of the Office of Safety Programs at Eastern Illinois University.

"The reduction of youth drug use is one of the three goals of our Futures for Kids initiative," said Mrs. Ryan. "The results of this study will help us educate students and their parents, and create environments on campuses that support healthy behavior."

In order to develop appropriate responses to the challenges of drug and alcohol use and their related violence, institutions of higher education needed accurate information about what is happening on their individual campuses. DHS entered into a partnership with Eastern Illinois University back in 1999 to establish the current incidence and prevalence of alcohol and other drug use on Illinois college campuses through the Illinois Core Baseline 2000 Project. Thirty- three colleges and universities throughout Illinois participated in the study.

Highlights from the study revealed that 35.5 percent of Illinois students reported they were non-users or infrequent users of alcohol compared to 31.6 percent at the national level. It was also reported that 42.7 percent of Illinois college students reported they were moderate users of alcohol, drinking once a week to once a month, compared to 44.4 percent at the national level.

In Illinois, 21.8 percent of the students reported they were frequent users of alcohol, drinking three times a week to every day; nationally, the rate is 24.0 percent.

"Illinois is one of only six states in the nation directing resources to address this important issue statewide," DHS Secretary Baker said. "The study results show that prevention works in Illinois through such efforts as Futures for Kids."

Futures for Kids was developed by Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan as a statewide resource to coordinate programs and policies related to health, safety and education of infants, children and teenagers. As part of its efforts, Futures for Kids co-sponsored the 2001 Substance Abuse Conference being held today at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers Cityfront Center. Its co-sponsors included DHS, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois Partnership for an Integrated Prevention System

In keeping with the theme of bridging research to practice, the Conference brought together a distinguished group of prevention experts, health care practitioners, public policy makers, governmental officials and grass roots leaders. Study findings were revealed today during one of the Conference sessions.

"The results of this study will help us to create effective programs to address the issues of alcohol and other drug use on college campuses," said Mrs. Ryan. "Through Futures for Kids and with the help of Conference participants, the Illinois Liquor Commission, and other state and community partners, we will be able to achieve even better outcomes in the future."

The release of findings from the Illinois Core Baseline 2000 Project and the Conference are part of the activities supporting Alcohol Awareness Month.


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