RD622 - Virginia Institutions of Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee 2023 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

The Virginia Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee (VHESUAC) is pleased to report on coordination of college alcohol and other drug education, prevention, recovery and intervention programming in the Commonwealth of Virginia. VHESUAC partners include public and private institutions of higher education (IHEs), student leaders, state agencies and statewide organizations committed to reducing student substance use and promoting effective policies and practices.

VHESUAC aims to create an environment and culture that values student health and safety and supports prevention and intervention efforts on campuses across the state. VHESUAC hopes to accomplish this by promoting a collaborative and coordinated effort among Virginia’s colleges and universities to advocate for prevention programming and treatment services, implement research-based approaches and facilitate a network for information sharing and action planning.

Virginia ABC Education and Prevention(*1) coordinates VHESUAC. The structure includes two tiers: the Executive Council and Workgroup.

During this reporting period, Executive Council and Workgroup members met to continue implementation of the Virginia Higher Education Substance Use Prevention Strategic Plan. Members also discussed, created and launched the VHESUAC Campus Recognition Program, an annual recognition program that allows VHESUAC to publicly recognize campuses for their efforts in furthering campus substance use education, prevention, intervention and recovery efforts on their own campuses. Members had these conversations at the regularly scheduled meetings, which resumed in-person beginning in October 2022. This report intends to detail these meetings, as well as explain the formation of VHESUAC, its current structure and its vision moving forward. This report will also describe the touch points VHESUAC has with the various institutions of higher education across the Commonwealth through the VHESUAC Campus Newsletter and will include data from campuses which applied for the VHESUAC Campus Recognition Program.

Statutory Authority

Pursuant to SB 120 and HB 852 of 2018 and Chapters 210 and 211 of the Acts of Assembly, an Act to amend and reenact § 4.1-103.02 of the Code of Virginia, relating to alcoholic beverage control; substance abuse prevention; Virginia Institutions of Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee established:

“The [Virginia ABC] Board shall also establish and appoint members to the Virginia Institutions of Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee). The goal of the Advisory Committee shall be to develop and update a statewide strategic plan for substance use education, prevention, and intervention at Virginia's public and private institutions of higher education. The strategic plan shall (a) incorporate the use of best practices, which may include, but not be limited to, student-led peer-to-peer education and college or other institution of higher education recovery programs; (b) provide for the collection of statewide data from all institutions of higher education on student alcohol and substance use; (c) assist institutions of higher education in developing their individual strategic plans by providing networking and training resources and materials; and (d) develop and maintain reporting guidelines for use by institutions of higher education in their individual strategic plans. The Advisory Committee shall consist of representatives from Virginia's public and private institutions of higher education, including students and directors of student health, and such other members as the Board may deem appropriate. The Advisory Committee's membership shall be broadly representative of individuals from both public and private institutions of higher education. The Advisory Committee shall submit an annual report on its activities to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before December 1 each year."
(*1) This report details the work of VHESUAC during the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023. In September 2023, Virginia ABC Education and Prevention was renamed Virginia ABC Community Health and Engagement.