Alcohol, Drug Abuse Awareness Week Begins at WSU Aug. 31

PULLMAN, Wash.–Washington State University’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program will sponsor an awareness week from Aug. 31-Sept. 4. The week features a one-hour television production of students and experts talking about the scope of alcohol and drug abuse on campus and the latest scientific information on research and prevention.
The special, called “An Issue of Substance at WSU,” will be aired at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, on local cable Channel 10. Northwest Public Television is co-sponsoring the show.
Part of the special is devoted to four student panelists representing fraternities, sororities, residence halls and off-campus residents: Andy Boyd, Interfraternity Council president; Sara Labberton, vice president of public affairs, Panhellenic organization; Keely Carroll, an honors, off-campus student; and Frank Taylor, a residence hall assistant. They define substance abuse and discuss its impact on the WSU campus, causes and possible solutions before a 25-member audience of other students.
A group of expert panelists makes up the other part of the program and includes Faye Calhoun, associate director from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; John Miller, a WSU alcohol counselor; Gus Kravas, WSU’s vice provost for Student Affairs; and Edward Prince, student body president. They will analyze the student discussion and provide data on research and prevention reports published by the NIAAA.
Karen Kelly, a WSU alum and former Spokane newscaster, hosts the show, which also includes a message from WSU President Samuel H. Smith.
Dipak Sarkar, interim director for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program, said the week of awareness is one of several new initiatives the program will undertake to bring the substance abuse problem into public focus and move toward finding solutions. Other initiatives include creating a seminar series to bring prominent scientists to WSU to share research, and submitting proposals to upgrade the program to center status and to train graduate and postdoctoral students in alcohol and substance abuse research.
The program has funded research by 41 WSU scientists studying varying aspects of alcohol and substance abuse, recruited new faculty to join the research ranks in the field, and provided equipment matches for projects funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The research includes studies in possible links between drinking alcohol and cancer or metastasis, by pharmacy professor Gary Meadows; how alcohol affects liver diseases, by pharmacy professor Thomas Jerrells; gender differences in drug abuse, by psychology professor Rebecca Craft; how cocaine addiction affects neurochemistry, by chemistry professor James Schenk; and the effects of combining alcohol and cocaine, by pharmacy professor Mohsen Hedaya; and how fetal exposure to alcohol alters brain growth, by Sarkar, a professor in veterinary and comparative anatomy, pharmacology and physiology.