OSU has had a long commitment to gathering health behavior data related to alcohol and other drug use and its consequences. Currently, there are no broad-based screenings done for employees to determine the level of use by these groups. Since 2000 Student Health Services has participated biennially in the National College Health Assessment (NCHA, revised in 2010 to become NCHA II). During Spring Term 2014 the NCHA II was administered and data are available from that survey. The overall student response rate for the 2014 NCHA II at OSU was 93.1% with 1,796 respondents. OSU data from the previous survey are shown for comparison. The NCHA allows for reporting estimated number of drinks consumed by OSU students and an estimate of the blood alcohol level (BAL) that students obtained as compared to national averages.

 Table 1. 2014 ACHA-NCHA Data for Frequency

Frequency of Use OSU 2012 (%) OSU 2014 (%) National 2014 (%)
Never used alcohol 17.3 19.1 20.6
Used, but not in the last 30 days 11.3 10.8 13.4
1-9 times (in a 30-day period) 46.5 49.5 50.7
10+ times (in a 30-day period) 24.9 20.6 15.3

Table 2. 2014 ACHA-NCHA Data for High-Risk Alcohol Use

High-risk use is defined as five or more drinks in a single sitting over the past two weeks.
Historical chart regarding high-risk alcohol use compared to national sample from 2002- 2014 (PDF)

Variable (excludes non-drinkers) OSU 2012 (%) OSU 2014 (%) National 2014 (%)
High risk - men 50.4 47.3 44.0
High risk - women 38.9 35.3 31.0
High risk  - total
45.0 40.0 36.1

Table 3. 2014 ACHA-NCHA Data for BAL Measures

Variable (excludes non-drinkers) OSU 2012 OSU 2014 National 2014
Avg. # of drinks “last time partied” - men 7.01 6.98 6.48
Avg. # of drinks “last time partied” - women 4.92 4.51 4.26
Avg. # of drinks “last time partied” - total
6.00 5.58 5.01
Blood Alcohol Level - men 0.08 .08 0.08
Blood Alcohol Level - women 0.10 .08 0.08
Blood Alcohol Level - total
0.09 0.08 0.08

Table 4. 2014 OSU NCHA Data - Frequency Use/Negative Consequences

Frequency of Negative Consequences (students who drank alcohol in the last 12 months; non-drinkers excluded)

OSU 2012 (%) OSU 2014 (%) National 2014 (%)
Doing something later regretted 43.8 40.3 38.2
Forgetting where they were/what done (black-out) 42.8 36.7 34.5
Physically injured yourself 20.9 18.6 16.3
Unprotected sex 25.2 21.9 21.3
Physically injured another person 3.6 2.0 2.0
Someone had sex with you without getting your consent 2.8 2.0 2.4
Had sex with someone without getting their consent 1.1 0.4 0.6
Got in trouble with the police 7.1 3.8 3.3
Seriously considered suicide 2.2 1.3 2.7

In addition to understanding negative consequences, it is important to determine the level at which OSU students are engaging in behaviors that may reduce or limit the risk/harm that can come from excessive alcohol use. Information on harm-reduction behaviors is presented (Table 5) as a way to determine areas where more education could occur and to determine if our students have used any means of protecting themselves from possible alcohol-related harm.

Table 5. 2014 OSU NCHA Data - Harm Reduction Behaviors

Behavior (non-drinkers excluded)

OSU 2012 (%) OSU 2014 (%) National 2014 (%)
Alternate non-alcoholic with alcoholic beverages 26.4 31.0 31.6
Determine in advance not to exceed a set number of drinks 32.3 36.0 38.8
Choose not to drink alcohol 18.8 19.6 23.2
Use a designated driver 77.6 81.4 86.0
Eat before and/or during drinking 76.8 79.6 79.3
Have a friend let you know when you have had enough 32.8 35.9 37.1
Keep track of how many drinks being consumed 56.0 60.0 64.6
Pace drinks to one or fewer an hour 21.8 24.4 27.2
Avoid drinking games 22.5 26.1 32.4
Stay with same group of friends the entire time drinking 78.1 81.7 83.4
Stick with only one kind of alcohol when drinking 38.9 39.8 45.8
Reported one or more of the above strategies 95.5 96.7 97.5

More than 96 percent of OSU students who drink report using at least one harm reduction strategy to stay safer if they choose to drink.