University of West Virginia Launches Text Messaging Service to Combat Heavy Alcohol Use | WV News
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) – Students at the University of West Virginia can now receive text messages encouraging them to make safer alcohol choices.
WELLWVU and WVU Athletics have teamed up to offer the CaringTXT program, an automated system that sends support requests and messages via a short message phone system to young adults who drink and sign up for the service.
The service asks how likely participants are to drink more than four drinks on a single occasion, how ready they are to deal with peer pressure, and whether they are ready to set a goal of drinking less.
“We’re happy to bring CaringTXT to WVU – it’s a simple tool for WVU students who drink alcohol to help them plan for safer, healthier outcomes and think about their choices,” said Wesley Thomas, health education specialist at WELLWVU in a statement. . “This is a good option for students who may appreciate a little help moderating their alcohol consumption or who would like to drink less often.”
Participants in this 12-week anonymous SMS intervention program receive a registration message every Friday asking them about their future drinking plans and willingness to consume less alcohol, followed by supportive messages and information about the benefits of low-risk alcohol consumption.
On Sunday, a follow-up SMS is sent to assess their behavior.
The SMS program is free for all students of WVU, and by entering specific keywords, WVU can track the level of participation of various groups of students, such as student-athletes, fraternity and fraternity members. sorority, students living in dormitories, and students enrolled in the Carruth Center Student Aid Program.
“We are pleased to partner with WellWVU and the campus community for the deployment of CaringTXT,” said Steve Uryasz, senior associate athletic director of WVU Athletics in a statement. “Both students and student-athletes will benefit from access to the platform. Any technology that can help students make better decisions about drinking, and especially heavy drinking, is a game-changer. “
According to a recent survey of WVU students, around 25% of students who drink have engaged in some form of public misconduct or experienced some kind of serious personal problem with alcohol at least once during the course of the year. past year.
“We hope to reduce that number and avoid these negative results,” Thomas said in a statement.
Small clinical trials have shown that students enrolled in the CaringTXT program drink two less drinks per occasion, maintain safer drinking for up to six months after the program ends, and 15% stop drinking altogether.
“By providing support outside of an academic or professional setting, we can reach students in their natural social environment when the influence of peers and other factors may not help a student prioritize their safety and well- be, ”Thomas said in a statement. “Therefore, CaringTXT was developed to increase one-on-one counseling and to broaden the reach of ongoing efforts for alcohol safety on campus.”