Substance abuse affects millions of Americans every year. Addicts and their families are privy to a constant cycle of pain, chaos, and turmoil. Coping with drug addiction is a very difficult task to live through. Families do everything they can to give their children the best opportunities possible. Even when they believe they could not do any better and their children get accepted to top quality colleges or universities it could not be enough. Drug and alcohol abuse in college is a hard task to overcome. In Indiana and across the country excessive drinking continues to be a problem and is only getting worse. As a result five Indiana health centers are joining an initiative to combat alcohol and substance abuse. College Habits College life is an exciting time for a young adult. For some it is the first time they are out on their own. It’s the first opportunity to not make your bed, choose to go to class or not, and go out for as long as you want. Some college students are able to balance their studies as well as their blossoming social lives. Other college students develop habits that can quickly turn into addictions. The nature of college life only promotes this type of behavior. Not to mention, popular culture has been promoting the binge drinking, party animal scene that college has become since the release of Animal House. This idea of college as a time to experiment sexually and with drugs and alcohol has led to a big problem. Across the country there are college students that are losing scholarships, money, and precious time. Indiana University Bloomington The Indiana University at Bloomington has begun working with five other Indiana health centers to combat alcohol and substance abuse. They are implementing a new procedure to evaluate all adult patients for the risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse. Through screenings, brief intervention and referral to treatment, they hope to address excessive drinking and other substance abuses, which is a problem in Indiana and across the country. The effort hopes to bring public health strategies to strengthen prevention. There system works through a more holistic approach to health care. The program hopes to assess the level of alcohol and substance use in patients and give them advice. The system hopes to help those that could be on a path to substance abuse by offering them advice in a discussion about possible danger. Research has shown that this style of preventative treatment is effective in reducing harmful drinking an illicit drug use. Preventing Habit Forming Behaviors Eliminating binge drinking and drug experimentation in college is an impossible task; there is nothing that can be done. However, there are several steps that families and schools can take to reduce the number of college students from falling down the wrong path. Alcohol and drug use education at an early age is the best way to get through to children. Parents should try to be as involved in their child’s life as possible. Parents that believe they can send their children off to college and believe everything will be ok. Parents should continue to monitor their children’s activities and progress in school. While college level guidance counselors are not as involved as high school, departments within the college should be designated to help students who could be suffering poor grades as a result of substance abuse/binge drinking. The program in Indiana is working towards this end. Keeping an open and honest relationship with your children is the best way to keep them from developing an addiction and reducing their productivity in college. Anyone suffering from alcohol abuse or substance abuse should speak with a professional immediately. Getting help can be as easy as picking up the phone.