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Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors

Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (DAPAs) are a group of undergraduate students who have been trained to respond to questions about alcohol and other drug use and abuse at Dartmouth. DAPA was created to reach students in a non-threatening environment and provide factual knowledge oriented to and delivered by students.

DAPA is a peer advising group sponsored by Dartmouth College's Health Promotion Department (in Dick's House). The Alcohol & Other Drug Education Program Coordinator serves as the advisor.

DAPAs ...

  • Provide support to students or friends around alcohol and other drug use, misuse, abuse and addiction
  • Learn about the medical, psychological, social and environmental aspects of addiction and problem use as well as prevention and treatment strategies utilized in dealing with this public health problem
  • Explain how to get help on campus
  • Are usually available during educational events such as Alcohol Awareness Week, Social Activities Fair, and on-going trainings
  • Attend at least two hours of continuing education sessions during each term they are in residence
  • Learn about being a peer advisor including role, responsibilities and limitations (DAPAs act as a referral resource)
  • Refer students during emergencies or crises by calling the Counseling Department (646-9474) during business hours, and Safety & Security (646-4000) for the Counselor-on-Call during "off hours."

Philosophy

The philosophy of the DAPA program is based upon the following Shared Beliefs and Values:

  1. Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of AOD use, incorporating a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence.  Harm reduction strategies meet AOD users "where they're at," addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.  Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve AOD users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction.  However, the following principles are central to harm reduction practice.
  2. Accepts, AOD use is part of our world and goal is to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.
  3. Understands AOD use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using AOD are clearly safer than others.
  4. Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being -- not necessarily cessation of all AOD use -- as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
  5. Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use AOD and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
  6. Ensures that AOD users and those with a history of AOD use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
  7. Affirms AOD users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
  8. Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people's vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with AOD-related harm.
  9. Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.

Training

Students participating in DAPA Training receive 18-20 hours of training, typically broken down into two, (2 hour), weekly sessions spanning eight weeks of the ten-week term. DAPA Training is usually offered during the Fall and Spring terms. The focus of training is to educate students about drug and alcohol use on a broad scale (e.g. social, physiological, etiological, familial, and legal aspects), as well as peer-specific components of use, such as listening and advising skills, so that students will be adequately prepared to serve as a resource and referral-point for their peers. Through a series of connections with campus administrators and student leaders, specific information about alcohol and other drugs at Dartmouth is covered, in addition to exploring the interaction between symbol and substance.Once the training requirements have been met, students receive a certificate and may offer themselves as a resource to their peers by posting a biography with contact information on the DAPA Blitz Bulletin, and by facilitating outreach and educational programming to the larger Dartmouth Community.

PA Application

Social Event Management Procedures

SEMP applies to any student organization that provides alcohol during a social gathering.  The AOD office provides SEMP training at the beginning of each term and/or at the request of student organizations.

Programming

Requested Programs

The Coordinator will be happy to tailor a program specific to your needs and/or the needs of your group.  Common presentation/discussion programs have been:

  • Alcohol on Campus (Policy/Procedures Clarification)
  • History of Alcohol at Dartmouth
  • Illicit Substance Use/Abuse
  • Risk Management at Social Events with Alcohol
  • Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body
  • Alcohol and Athletic Performance

Online Programs

Dartmouth e-CheckUp, Dartmouth Responsible Server Course

Annual Events

Fall Term

  • Alcohol Awareness Week (week before Homecoming/Bonfire)
  • Great American Smokeout (2nd Thursday in October)
  • Designated Driving Week (week prior to Thanksgiving holiday)

Winter Term

  • Drug Awareness Week
  • Safe Spring Break (week prior to Spring Break)

Spring

  • National Alcohol Screening Day (Wednesday prior to "Green Key")

Summer

  • Alcohol Awareness Day (Thursday of "Field Stock)

Contact Us

To find out who current DAPAs are, go to the DAPA Blitz Bulletin which includes a short biography about each active DAPA and their contact information.  Please feel free to call, Blitz, or visit whichever DAPA you feel most comfortable speaking with or Blitz DAPA with any inquiry.  We are happy to talk with you!

Last Updated: 11/15/13