Alchohol Awareness Program

December 27, 2006
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

The California State University, Bakersfield alcohol and drug education committee's "Gambling With Life" public service announcement starts hitting TV airwaves this week. This latest PSA, written and produced by CSUB student Nolan Portillo, is the final phase of the committee's yearlong media advocacy campaign targeted to decrease alcohol related misconduct by CSUB students. This is the second PSA Portillo has created for the committee.

The media campaign includes a series of PSAs aimed at increasing student knowledge and options when it comes to alcohol. Erika Delamar, co-chair of the committee, said the release of "Gambling With Life" is timely with the holidays approaching. "The holidays are often a time of getting together and celebrating," Delamar said. "If you choose to drink and drive, be responsible, which includes having a designated driver so you'll have a safe holiday."

She added the committee's projects, including the PSAs, are important when looking at statistics. Delamar said that in 2004, 43 people were killed in Kern County in alcohol involved collisions and 764 people were charged with a DUI. Statewide, 1,462 people were killed, 20,872 were injured, and 180,957 were charged with a DUI.

Portillo, a senior communications major, said the spot is relatable to many. "It shows that even if you're just buzzed you ignore that you're going to take a chance and you're taking a gamble driving," he said.

The last PSA depicted a night of drinking and driving through the eyes of a drunk driver and the results of his negligence. This one specifically focuses on how many people were killed as a result of drinking related crashes throughout California.

Delamar said the PSA has "enabled us to get a real strong message out to everyone." She added: "As part of our grant we've seen a reduction in our alcohol related issues in our students, and I think the PSAs have been large part of it. And the fact we got our name out there says a great deal."

The program is part of the $750,000 CSU Alcohol and Traffic Safety two-year grant given to 10 CSU campuses last year. CSUB received nearly $43,000.

"We have been working since 2001 to increase awareness," said LaShawn Barefield, CSUB chair of the alcohol and drug education committee. "Through our program we try to reduce underage drinking and offer alternatives to drinking."

Although this grant ends at the end of the month, the committee is still working diligently to increase knowledge on campus. An alcohol education office is already set up in the Student Union and houses a designated driver program. The program enables designated CSUB student drivers to carry a card and show it to participating local businesses. Several establishments have set up to provide free non-alcoholic drinks to the designated drivers once they flash their card. Participating businesses include Chuy's, Red Lobster, and Wood'ys.

The office is also working on a safe-ride program and plans to hold quarterly sporting events such as a dodgeball tournament.

The CSU Alcohol and Traffic Safety (CSU ATS) program was funded as part of $74.2 million in traffic safety funds awarded to 277 California state departments and communities that are committed to improved traffic safety. Participating CSU campuses are Bakersfield, Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Pomona, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, Sonoma, and Stanislaus.

Specifically, the grant's key goals are to reduce the incidence of driving after consuming alcohol by 18-25 year-old CSU students, and reduce alcohol-related misconduct by CSU students both by 5 percent by Dec. 30, 2006.

The program's objectives include:

Office of Traffic Safety data shows that fatalities in alcohol-involved collisions increased 8.3 percent up from 1,308 in 2001 to 1,416 in 2002. Since 1998, California has experienced a 32 percent increase in persons killed in alcohol-involved collisions, according to the Office of Traffic Safety. However, in Office of Traffic Safety grant-funded cities, alcohol-involved fatal and injury collisions decreased 26.3 percent. In 2003, 1,445 people were killed and 31,337 injured in alcohol-related crashes in California the fifth consecutive year of increases in alcohol-related fatalities after more than a decade of decline.

For information about the program, please contact Delamar at (661) 654-3453 or Barefield at (661) 654-3366. To sign up for the designated driver program, please call (661) 654-2561.