Alcohol & Other Drugs

We offer educational programs that are interactive and provide the latest information about alcohol and other drugs, including nicotine, marijuana, and prescription drug misuse. Presentations, peer theater performances and guest lectures are provided for student organizations and academic classes.

To request a program and for additional information about educational activities, please contact Brian Freidenberg, Ph.D., Addictive Behaviors Specialist, at 518-442-5800 or Our work in this area has also led to many research-to-service opportunities.

Major Programs

Alcohol Awareness Week

Held each October, the goal of Alcohol Awareness Week is to offer educational programs about alcohol and its effects, as well as information on healthy choices for students. Programs, workshops, and exhibits are interactive and engaging. We collaborate with a number of campus departments and student groups to reach our diverse campus community and to make this week a success.

If you are interested in working with us on Alcohol Awareness Week, or if you would like more information about the week's events, please contact Brian Freidenberg, Ph.D., Addictive Behaviors Specialist at 518-442-5800 or

Social Norms Campaign

We are conducting an ongoing health awareness campaign to inform the University community that UAlbany students make healthy choices. This campaign is referred to as the Social Norms Campaign. The campaign is designed to correct misperceptions about UAlbany students by providing members of the University community with accurate information about our students in the form of messages that are taken from annual, anonymous, and representative student health surveys.

Click here to learn more about our Social Norms Campaign.

Middle Earth Peer Theatre and Peer Education

The award-winning Middle Earth Players peer theatre group is comprised of undergraduate peer educators who use theatrical vignettes to communicate prevention messages about alcohol use. These peer education programs combine spontaneous dramatic methods (e.g. acting out unscripted scenarios) with factual information (e.g. social norms data) and modeling of protective behaviors. Program goals include influencing attitudes and behavioral intentions, increasing protective behaviors and decreasing alcohol-related high-risk behaviors.

To learn more about Middle Earth educational programs in the area of alcohol and other drug prevention, click here.

The STEPS Comprehensive Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Program

To To learn more about the STEPS Program, click here.

About the STEPS Program

The STEPS Comprehensive Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Program is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of health and Human Services. NREPP is a searchable online database of mental health and substance abuse interventions. All interventions in the registry have met NREPP's minimum requirements for review and have been independently assessed and rated for Quality of Research and Readiness for Dissemination.

Developed, implemented and rigorously evaluated at the University at Albany for the past four years, the STEPS Program is a comprehensive Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) strategy based on the NIAAA Tier I Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) model and is designed to: 1) reduce alcohol use frequency and quantity, and 2) reduce associated negative consequences by adapting interventions to meet the very distinct and complex needs of three target populations of high-risk drinkers: first-year students, student-athletes, and students seeking primary health and mental health care on campus. Guided by BASICS program developers Drs. Mary Larimer and Jason Kilmer from the University of Washington's Addictive Behaviors Research Center, target-population specific, relevant, and responsive interventions tailored to each target group have been systematically and strategically tested and integrated into our broader STEPS model, reaching more than 16,000 students to date. In addition to statistically significant reductions in alcohol use and associated negative consequences across each target population intervention component on a total of more than twenty indices, the STEPS Program has developed, implemented, and tested two groundbreaking strategies: a Web-delivered brief alcohol intervention and a team-delivered student-athlete specific brief alcohol intervention. Based on evidence of its effectiveness, the STEPS Program has played a national role in moving SBI forward to be recognized in late 2007 as an insurance-reimbursable service for both our 17 million U.S. college students as well as the general public. In 2009, the STEPS Program has received five national best practice awards, including awards from the American College Health Association (ACHA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD). The STEPS Program was also selected as an FY 2009 Model Program for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention among Colleges by the U.S. Department of Education. Planned project enhancements will focus on developing, integrating and evaluating fraternity and sorority-specific and responsive individual, organization, and Web-delivered SBI strategies within our STEPS Program model, in collaboration with BASICS program developers Drs. Larimer and Kilmer and our Office of Fraternity/Sorority Affairs.

Training, Technical Assistance, and Consultation

Training, technical assistance and consultation are available to all individuals interested in implementing the STEPS Comprehensive Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Program on their campuses.

For additional information about scheduling STEPS program training or for technical assistance and consultation, please contact:

M. Dolores Cimini, Ph.D., STEPS Program Director
Assistant Director for Prevention and Program Evaluation
Adjunct Clinical Professor, School of Education
University Counseling Center
University at Albany
400 Patroon Creek Blvd.
Suite 104
Albany, New York 12206
(518) 442-5800

Campus-Wide Prevention Initiatives on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

Our programming on alcohol and other drugs is a component of a larger and more comprehensive plan by the University to minimize risk related to substance use. To download Campus-Wide Initiatives for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, please click here.