Since the introduction of My Student Body eight years ago, the University has seen a decrease in risky drinking habits.

MSB is a required online interactive prevention education course for incoming students. The course covers alcohol, illicit and prescription drug use and sexual violence.

Students who do not complete this requirement will have a hold placed on their account and will not be able to add or drop classes.

Underage drinking at the University has decreased from 72.4 percent in 2011 to 69.9 percent in the spring of 2013, according to the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey, a national survey that polls students at different colleges about alcohol and drug use.

In 2013, 46.6 percent of LSU students said they participated in binge drinking, down from 51.8 percent in 2011, according to the survey.

MSB focuses on helping incoming students develop positive habits by giving them the truth, because the majority of all alcohol and drug violations are committed by first-year students, said Health Promotions Coordinator Kathryn Saichuk.

The program encourages low-risk behavior instead of telling students to abstain from drinking and other activities, Saichuk said.

Ideally, the Student Health Center would prefer students not to participate in risky behavior at all, but that’s not realistic, Saichuk said.

Students need to know their actions affect them academically, financially and can also affect their family and friends, Saichuk said. Unlike 30 years ago when students received a slap on the hand for violations, students now face losing their TOPS scholarships, being dismissed from the University and incurring legal consequences.

Because of the stories and myths students hear, there is a disconnect of what they think others on campus are doing to what is really going on, Saichuk said.

“They think everyone is drinking, smoking and having sex, but that is not the reality,” Saichuk said.

According to the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey, 62.9 percent of students believed that the average student on campus uses some form of drug at least once a week, when only 22.4 percent students reported using marijuana, 7.9 percent reported using amphetamines and 2.1 percent reported using a sedative in the past 30 days.

The Student Health Center only receives students’ scores and does not see their individual answers, Saichuk said. They do, however, get the total numbers about how students answered each question. That data is used to help plan what programs and topics the Student Health Center will focus on.

Most students do not want to spend the time to take the course, but once they do take it, they see the benefits, Saichuk said.

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