University Health Services hosts 17th annual alcohol screening

Tyler Haughn

In an attempt to reduce alcohol abuse among students, Kent State University Health Services hosted its 17th annual alcohol screenings for National Alcohol Screening Day.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. students, faculty and Kent residents gathered in the Student Center to engag in free and confidential screenings for alcohol abuse.

Scott Dotterer, the coordinator of the event, said the goal of the event is for students, faculty, staff and community members to determine if they have developed any symptoms of alcoholism and raise awareness for the topic of excessive alcohol use. The alcohol screenings were anonymous and allowed participants the chance to determine if they have developed alcohol dependency.

“People go through the screening for many reasons and want to understand alcoholism better, and (build) that knowledge base,” Dotterer said.

The screening process was open to everyone, from people who do not drink at all to those who may be worried about a friend or family member’s use of alcohol.

Dotterer said alcohol poisoning is another significant aspect leading people to learn more information about alcohol use.

“Alcohol poisoning truly is a medical emergency,” Dotterer said. “The National Alcohol Screening Day really is way to educate the Kent State University and community about alcohol use disorders and related health issues.”

Emily Barrett, a junior public health major who contributed to the event, said the guidelines are different for everyone but the fact remains the same: everyone who is affected by alcoholism needs help.

“We are here to give help to anyone who needs it,” Barrett said. “People can come through and get information and learn more about the effects of alcoholism.”

The screening process involves participants filling out a form that is based on the alcohol use disorders identification test or the audit screening form, which asks participants about their drinking habits and behaviors related to drinking as well.

Barrett said the screening also helps people not feel alone and makes discussions regarding the topic of alcoholism much more open. Licensed clinicians from University Health Services attended the event to help carry out this discussion.

“After filling out a questionnaire, you meet with a mental health adviser and they give you information regarding if whether or not you have an issue, or whether you are at a risk for an issue,” Barrett said.

Maimuna Yaffa, a senior community health major, participated in the anonymous screening.

While Yaffa said she believes that excessive alcohol use is dangerous and a problem for many people, she does not believe the majority of Kent State students exhibit any forms of alcohol dependency.

“I see people drink but I wouldn’t say it is a problem,” Yaffa said. “I have not met anyone who has an alcohol problem, so I don’t think it’s a problem here.”

Dotterer said it is important for everyone to be mindful of their alcohol consumption, but especially college students. He said it is much better to acknowledge early symptoms or behaviors of excessive alcohol use before it is detrimental to mental and physical health. He cited being proactive as an essential aspect of this.

“For a traditionally-aged college student, they are going to turn 21 at some point on this campus, and they are going to make a decision on whether or not they drink or they don’t drink,” Dotterer said. “If they do decide to drink, why wouldn’t they want to be familiar with alcohol related issues and risk reduction?”

Tyler Haughn is the student health reporter, contact him at [email protected].