Launch of Online Alcohol Intervention Programme for 3rd Level Students in Limerick
On Wednesday the 22nd of March 2017 saw the Mid-West launch of e-PUB, an online alcohol intervention programme, in a bid to encourage third-level students to reflect on their drinking behaviour.
The online personalised brief self-assessment programme, entitled Electronic Personal Use Barometer or e-PUB in short, is to be implemented in all three third level institutions in the Mid-West region as part of a collaborative initiative between Mary Immaculate College (MIC) Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) University of Limerick (UL) and the Mid-West Third Level Drug and Alcohol Awareness Project.
e-PUB is a NASPA recognised, evidence based, on-line intervention and personalised feedback tool developed by counsellors and psychologists at San Diego State University, and is currently in use at over 550 campuses in the United States, Canada, Australia and Ireland.
The programme is anonymous and encourages participants to examine their individual drinking patterns, their personal and family risk factors and the health and personal consequences of their behaviours. The e-PUB gives the user personalized feedback that is designed to support and motivate individuals to adapt and, if necessary, to reduce their consumption patterns. The programme is self-guided, and requires no face-to-face contact time with a counsellor or administrator. As it is offered online, the e-PUB can provide quick, confidential feedback in multiple settings. This also allows a student to complete a personal 'check-up' on multiple occasions to track changes in use and risk behaviour.
According to recent figures 2.48 million in Ireland drink with at least 75% of all alcohol consumed as part of a binge drinking session. Those aged 18-24 years are most likely to have a harmful drinking pattern.
The Limerick implementation of the e-PUB programme is funded by the Mid-West Regional Drugs & Alcohol Forum (MWRDAF) through Pobal Dormant Accounts, as part of a collaborative approach which is hoping to address alcohol use/misuse and related factors within the third level educational setting in Limerick.
Speaking at the launch of the e-PUB initiative, Gearoid Prendergast, Co-ordinator of the Forum, said:
“This is an exciting and innovative project which has brought together the three main 3rd Level Institutions in the City with a view to encouraging participants to examine their individual drinking patterns, their personal and family risk factors and the health and personal consequences of their behaviours”.
Speaking on behalf of all three Students Unions Caoimhe Guinnane, LIT Students’ Union Vice-President said that she hoped the e-PUB programme would help students become more aware of their alcohol consumption.
“This programme will be a tool to anonymously encourage students to seek help via the information of local services provided if necessary” she said.
e-PUB has already been implemented with great success in a number of other Irish 3rd level institutions, including UCC and NUIG. According to Elaine Griffin, Project Worker - Mid West Third Level Drug and Alcohol Prevention Initiative, the e-PUB programme will be complemented in the three Institutions with a sustained awareness campaign using social media and traditional communication channels, in addition to environmental strategies that are relevant to each individual institution.