Sobering up from a few drinks can take a surprising amount of time.
At least, that’s what the 56,000 students attending the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando have been finding out.
“The university has invested a lot of time and effort in prevention work,” says Program Director Tom Hall. “They’re very supportive.”
At UCF, prevention efforts start the minute students hit campus. First-year students are required to complete AlcoholEdu, an online education program. Each year, about six hundred students take part in substance abuse intervention. The campus-wide prevention program also offers a three-credit class on bystander intervention to educate peers on recognizing danger signs in other students.
“The idea is for students to look out for each other,” says Hall, “To be successful, prevention efforts need to reflect our community’s shared values and be peer-driven. For UCF, integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence are core values that guide conduct, performance, and decisions.”
For years, Hall has relied on Fatal Vision® goggles to aid his efforts to educate students on the effects of alcohol and other drugs. Last year, the AODPP was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a model program for its Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC) program. Since then, Hall has added the intoxiclock® to augment that award-winning program at the urging of Glynn Birch, former director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “I’m really glad I listened to him,” says Hall.
The intoxiclock® is used in on-campus demonstrations and to educate RAs in campus housing. The intoxiclock® opens students’ eyes as to how long it actually takes to metabolize alcohol and “sober up”, based on weight, gender, and amount of alcohol consumed.
“Students are very surprised how long it takes the body to metabolize alcohol,” says Hall.
He told David Martin, a reporter for Orlando’s Fox 35, “If they drink late at night, they could go to class impaired and not know it.”
“They think there’s something magical about sleep,” Hall adds, noting that young adults often have the idea they can’t be drunk in the daylight. “It’s magical thinking.”
Students also rarely consider the amount of alcohol in “one drink.” “They think of a drink as a drink,” says Hall, adding that in actuality, a sixteen-ounce cup of beer is closer to one and a half drinks, while the popular “boot” holds five drinks.
The intoxiclock® pokes holes in this kind of thinking with a strong dose of reality.
In addition to the intoxiclock® and Fatal Vision® goggles, UCF has added both SIDNE®, the go-kart that simulates a drunk driving experience, and Distract-a-Match®, a puzzle board game that shows users the effects that talking or texting on a cell phone has on their ability to multi-task and drive safely.
Campus police are committed to the program and Innocorp, Ltd. products; in fact, they are the ones who use the products with students. Hall says that students take the experience much more seriously coming from uniformed police officers.
“Students learn differently now,” UCF Police Chief Richard Beary told Fox 35’s Martin. “…(With Fatal Vision® products) they actually get the sensation and understand what it feels like, so I think it’s effective.”
Current students also tend to have shorter attention spans, which makes an experience with Fatal Vision® products even more effective. Hall says the goal is to create three- to five-minute “sound bytes” and offer them multiple times during the year.
“It’s about creating a hands-on experience,” he says. “We’re creating multiple opportunities for learning.
“We have to mix it up and have a variety of programs…Innocorp, Ltd. tools and resources allow us to do more programs more often.
“Innocorp products aren’t Power Point—they’re experiential.”