I’m Joe Hadge, Assistant Director of the Alcohol and Drug Education Program (ADEP) at The College of New Jersey. One of the goals of ADEP is to promote healthy lifestyles and responsible decision making. ADEP supports an environment where students have an awareness of choice and understand the consequences in deciding to use alcohol and/or other drugs.
I want to take a moment to address a few key topics related to alcohol use, specifically areas pertinent to our TCNJ students. Over the 18 years I’ve been working with TCNJ students, a common yet problematic trend I encounter is students gauging the amount they drink by the infamous “red cup.” Most of the time when students are sanctioned to come to my office, I’ll ask them what kind of cup they were drinking out of the night of the incident that led to our meeting. More often than not, students will say that they were using a red Solo cup. Most red Solo cups are between 16 -18 ounces, (oftentimes students think they are 12 ounces, which is the standard unit of measurement for a cup of beer when determining blood alcohol concentrations (BACs)). Therefore, students don’t understand why they became so intoxicated after consuming what they thought were two drinks. In actuality, what they thought was two drinks could have really been closer to three or more drinks. Based on the faulty red cup method of measuring, a person who thinks they are having four drinks is actually having almost six drinks. You can see how quickly those extra ounces add up. When hard alcohol, such as vodka, enters the picture, and students make mixed drinks in these red Solo cups, they tend to fill the red cups with more hard alcohol than they would if they were using a smaller (standard) cup. It’s pretty easy to lose track of how much you’ve had if you’re not using a standard cup size. If you are choosing to drink, please be aware of the size of the glass you are drinking out of so you can keep track of how much you’ve had. Two red cups with vodka in them could easily add up to 6 drinks or more!
I am proud to offer the incredibly valuable service e-Check-Up to Go, at no cost to students. This free tool can be accessed on the ADEP website and, if you’d like to discuss your results, please email me for an appointment and I will happy to talk with you. The e-Check-Up to Go program is personalized and uses evidence-based, online prevention interventions. If you’re curious to see how many cheeseburgers you’re drinking – yes I said cheeseburgers you’re drinking, you should check out this brief, online tool. E-Check-Up to Go offers a different perspective about some of the factors that can contribute to drinking problems, some of which students are rarely aware about.
Oftentimes students mistakenly believe that their peers are drinking a lot more than they actually are. For example, according to our Core survey data, more than 60% of TCNJ students have two or less drinks in a typical week, with 14% not drinking at all during a typical week. It’s important to have accurate information about the realities of what your fellow classmates are doing. This will combat the misperception that ‘everybody drinks’ by learning the accurate findings and trends. The Core data shows us that not everybody does drink, and if you are a student who chooses not to drink, you are not alone.
ADEP and myself would personally welcome and encourage students to call or email with any questions, and even set up an appointment. ADEP welcomes students who are looking to explore their alcohol and other drug use, and to utilize the programs and services offered. If you ever feel like you are headed down a destructive path with alcohol, please don’t hesitate to call me and make an appointment. I can be reached at 609-771-2572 or by my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to another successful school year with you all!
Joe Hadge, MA, SAC, CPS, LCADC