Today's Update: Thursday, July 21

July 21, 2022

Dear Student Life team,

In this week's Note from a Fellow Buckeye, you may have seen President Johnson's announcement about instituting a program of required student educational modules on issues related to alcohol and other drugs. I am very pleased that we as a university are taking this important step toward our students' health and safety. 

High Five to Dr. Shawnte' Elbert and those who are turning this concept into reality.

This new educational requirement will be for all first-year and transfer undergraduate students on all Ohio State campuses. The modules will cover alcohol and other drug misuse prevention, mental wellness and prescription drug abuse.

Eventually, we want to reach all students, but it is important that we initially prioritize new students. Many first years are away from home and parental supervision for the first time, and may feel a need to fit in and be accepted by their peers. These modules will help fill in the knowledge gaps about the potential harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The data points to an urgent need. Nationally, from 2019 to 2021, deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl doubled. In Ohio, as of January 2021, incidents of opioid overdose were at the highest rate in 10 years. According to the 2022 National College Health Assessment, 72% of Ohio State students drink alcoholic beverages, 25% report using cannabis, 3% report misusing prescription stimulants (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall) and 1% report misusing prescription opioids (e.g., oxycodone, fentanyl).

These modules are in addition to the extensive work already being done in Student Life in this area, including programs through Counseling and Consultation Service, Student Health Services and the Student Wellness Center.

Through this initiative, we are centering the health, safety and well-being of every Buckeye. We have historically communicated and provided a wide variety of education and prevention information, and we continue to identify ways to improve programming to best reach all of our students. Education is critical to creating a community of informed, responsible Buckeyes.

This educational requirement is another step in our university commitment to the health, wellness and safety of the campus community. Together, we have a Scarlet and Great opportunity to reframe our culture to be safer, more caring and inclusive.


Melissa S. Shivers, PhD

Senior Vice President for Student Life
The Ohio State University