Carroll College, Helena Montana

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

Smart Choices - Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

Smart Choices, Carroll College's comprehensive plan to address alcohol and drug abuse prevention includes the AlcoholEdu online course all incoming freshman take to educate them on alcohol and college related issues, plus prevention workshops and trainings throughout the year, and a one-hour course called "Thriving" for all freshman during the semester. The college has instituted a six-hour educational seminar for students with alcohol violations. Also part of Carroll's plan is its campus-wide assessment of campus alcohol use and assessment of policies and practices to address alcohol use. The college's plan also includes collaboration with local law enforcement agencies and school district to prevent access to alcohol, and popular Arrive Alive free cab service to reduce drinking and driving. Parsley also points to Carroll's social marketing campaign to let students know that choosing to go alcohol-free is a popular choice, with the college's Student Activities Office scheduling over 200 alcohol-free events during the academic year, including this spring's junior-senior banquet.

2011 Outstanding Alcohol and Drug Prevention Educator Award

Kelly Parlsey, Carroll College' sexual safety and wellness educator is in the office of Counseling Services and adjunct faculty member in Carroll's Health Sciences program, was awarded the 2011 Outstanding Alcohol and Other Drug Professional of the Year. This award was announced in Boston, Mass., by Outside the Classroom, on organization devoted to alcohol prevention in educational institutions, as part of its annual 2011 Prevention Excellence Awards. Held annually, the Prevention Excellence Award honors individuals, institutions, Greek organizations that have achieved excellence in their alcohol prevention efforts, thus significantly improving the quality of student life.

Parsley was selected for recognition from candidates across the United States by an independent review panel which evaluated nominees on the degree to which they have impacted student life through visionary and innovative approaches to alcohol abuse prevention. The award is sponsored by Outside The Classroom, a leading provider of alcohol and other drug awareness programs to colleges and universities. The awards were formally presented on March 14, at the Prevention Excellence Reception at the 2011 National Association of Student Personnel Adminstrators Annual Conference. Award recipients demonstrated their dedication to the health and safety of their students by implementing comprehensive alcohol prevention programs on their campuses.

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Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training

Carroll College collaborates with local law enforcement to provide Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training on our campus throughout the academic year. The training is offered for all employees of local businesses that hold a liquor license.

People who serve alcohol as a profession can be a positive force in reducing underage drinking. This program is intended to help servers learn the skills needed to support responsible alcohol service. Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Training enhances public health and safety and:

  • Reduces illegal alcohol sales to minors
  • Reduces the number of drunk drivers
  • Reduces alcohol abuse and its costs to Montanans
  • Promotes responsible consumption
  • Provides information to servers to protect them from third party liability lawsuits
  • Educates licensees and servers about Montana liquor laws.

Arrive Alive

Arrive Alive is a safe ride home program for students who do not have a designated sober driver to return to campus. Student ridership for the safe ride program provided through Capital Taxi for the 2004-2010 academic years were:

 Years Fall Sept-Dec Spring Jan-April Summer May-Aug Total for Year
 2010/11 213 223  
 2009/10 516 444 178  1,138
 2008/09 384 470 368 1,122
 2007/08 197 424 214 835
 2006/07 305 364 187 856
 2005/06 287 365 106 758
 2004/05 211 380 77 678


Assessment: AlcoholEdu for College

AlcoholEdu for College (2010-2011)

AlcoholEdu for College is an on-line alcohol and other drug abuse prevention course that Carroll College expects all first-years students to complete prior to arrival to campus and at midterm during their first semester. In looking at the drinking rates of first-year students prior to their arrival on campus, Carroll College is below the national average for high-risk drinkers and above the national average for non-drinkers.

 Carroll College FreshmenNational Average Freshmen
Non-Drinkers  73% 62%
Moderate Drinkers  13% 14%
Heavy Episodic Drinkers  13% 24%
Problematic Drinkier  3% 7%


After completing AlcoholEdu, Carroll College students reported an increase in several behavioral intentions. 

 Pre-Course Intention Post-Course Intention 
Set a limit.  65% 78%
Avoid drinking games 46% 62%
Monitor blood alcohol content 52% 71%
Choose a drink with less alcohol. 57% 69%
 Pace drinks. 56% 66%
Alternate alcohol and non-alcohol. 58% 72%
Reduce frequency of drinking. 52% 62%
Reduce number of drinks. 52% 68%


The first semester midterm drinking rates of Carroll College first-year students were less than the national average as far as high-risk drinkers and moderate drinkers and above the national average as far as non-drinkers.

 Carroll College
Freshmen 
National Average
Freshmen 
High-Risk Drinkers  21% 31%
Moderate Drinkers 15% 17%
Non-Drinkers  64%52% 


Carroll College students indicated their top 5 most important reasons for choosing to drink on a particular occasion.

How important to you is each of the following reasons for drinking alcoholic beverages: Percent Important/ Very Important
 To celebrate 55%
 To have a good time with my friends 52%
 Because you like the tasts 34%
 Feel Happy 32%
 Feel connected with the people around me 30%


Carroll College students indicated their top 5 most important reasons for choosing not to drink on a particular occasion.

When you choose not to drink alcohol, how important are the following reasons: Percent Important/ Very Important
I'm going to drive 77%
I have other things to do 71%
I don't want to spend the money 70%
I don't have to drink to have a good time 70%
Drinking interferes with my school work 66%


 This year, your students are most interested in the following activites: 
 #1 Outdoor Adventures                                            183
 #2 Movie Nights                                                        176
 #3 Live Music                                                            163
 #4 Intramural Sports Tournaments                              156
 #5 Fitness Classes                                                     139
 #6 Nothing specific - just a place to hang out                136


Assessment: Core Alcohol and Drug Use Survey

Core Alcohol and Other Drug Survey (2009)

The Core Alcohol and Other Drug Survey is administered in alternating years to a random sample of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. The 2009 findings indicate a decrease in the precentage of Carroll students who are consuming alcohol over the 2007 findings. The percentage of Carroll drinkers still exceeds the national average. The 2009 findings report fewer minors consuming alcohol and fewer binge drinkers than the national averages.

National Average 2009 Carroll 2007 Carroll 2005 Carroll 2003 Carroll Student Use of Alcohol 
 84.0% 85.2% 86.9% 86.8% 89.4%Previous year
 71.4% 75.6% 78.3% 76.2% 79.4%Previous 30 days 
 67.0% 65.9% 73.5% 70.5% 77.9% Previous 30 days-minor
 47.0% 46.5% 53.2% 47.2% 48.8%5 or more drinks in one setting (Binge)


Social Host Ordinance - City of Helena

The City of Helena has a Social Host Ordinance that holds individuals accountable for knowingly allowing underage drinking on private property they control. The fine is up to $500 per host for each violation of underage drinking. Understanding the Social Host Ordinance is important for all students who host or attend parties off-campus.

Social Host Ordinance
A social host shall immediately and by the quickest means of communication give notiece to the Helena Police Department that an underage person is in possession of or is consuming an alcoholic beverage at a gathering on the host's premises. Section5-14-3 of this chapter does not apply to the provision of an alcoholic beverage in a nonintoxicating quantity to an underage person by the underage person's parent or legal guardian, physician, or dentist for medical purposes, a licensed pharmacist upon the prescription of a physican, or an ordained minister or priest in connection with a religious observance. A violation of this chapter is a misdemeanor. Any person who fails to comply with requirements of this chapter may, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than five hundered dollars ($500.00) for each violation and, in addition, may be ordered to pay all costs and expenses involved with the case.

The following definitions apply:

  • Alcohol: An intoxicating agent in alcoholic beverages,ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol, or the hydrated oxide in ethyl.
  • Alcoholic Beverage: A compound produced and sold for human consumption as a drink that contains more than 0.5 percent of alcohol by volume including beer, liquor, spirits, wine, and table wine.
  • Gathering: A party or event, where a group of three (3) or more persons have assumbled or are assembling for a social occasion or social activity.
  • Person: Any individual over eighteen (18) years old, firm, association, corporation or any organization of any kind.
  • Premises: Any home, yard, farm, field, land, appartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, hall or meeting room, park or any other place of assembly, public or private, whether occupied on temporary or permanent basis, whether occupied as a dwelling or specifally for a party or other social function, and whether owned, leased, or rented or any other legal or possessory interest.
  • Social Host: Any person who knows or reasonably should know that an underage person in the possession of or is consuming an alcoholic beverage at a gathering on the person's premises.
  • Underage Person: Any person less than twenty one (21) years of age.

What is a Social Host? Any person who allowa an event or gethering to take place on property they are in control of and/or a person who organizes such an event or gethering.

What is a Social Host Ordinance? A social host ordiance is a municipal criminal law that holds hosts accountable if they allow minors other than their own children to consume alcohol. The fine is up to $500.

 Why focus on house parties? House parties have repeatedly been identified as the primary source by which youth obtain alcohol. We're doing a pretty good job preventing commercial sales to minors, but there is work to be done to reduce underage access in social settings. Research shows that kids whose parents or friend's parents provide alcohol for teen get-togethers are more likely to engange in heavier drinking, to drink more often and to get into traffic crashes.

Are social host laws effective? A national study found that social host liability laws lowered the probability of binge drinking and drinking and driving among all drinkers. Social host ordinances are enforcement and educational tools designed to change community social norms relative to underage drinking and reduce youth access to alcohol. Currently 23 states have social host statutes and over 150 communities have enacted social host liability laws. Anecdotal evidence from law enforcement officials indicates that social host ordinances seem to be effective tools in reducing the number and size of underage drinking parties. Helena was the first city in Montana to pass a social host ordiance, Billings and Great Falls have since followed suit.

What is binge drinking and how does it relate to house parties? Binge drinking is defined as having 5 or more drinks in one sitting for males and 4 or more drinks in one setting for females. Montana teens report one of the highest binge drinking rates in the nation and Lewis and Clark County 12th graders report a rate higher than the Montana average. Because alcohol is often freely available and drinking games are common at house parties, binge drinking often occurs. This heavy drinking is strongly associated with injury, motor vehicle crashes, violence, sexual assaults, unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted dieases. Research proves that binge drinking can seriously damage the developing adolsecent brain.

We already have a law against contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Isn't that enough? Under existing law, adults are prohibited from providing alcohol to persons under the age of 21 other than their own son or daughter. However, there is often little legal recourse a community can take to hold accountable adults/minors who know of and allow alcohol consumption by underage youth at home parties. The Social Host Ordinance helps to fix this gap in the law.