What is Toxic Drinking

1. Why the Red Watch?

The Red Watch symbolizes the "band" of students who are trained to "watch" over one another when "every second counts."

2. Is this a medical amnesty program?

No. RWB as a training program does not prescribe how institutions should approach the issue of medical amnesty with regard to a campus conduct code. Our hope is that because RWB training includes coverage of your institution's policies regarding alcohol and other drug use, it will serve as a starting point for productive dialogue between students and administration about the effectiveness of existing alcohol policies.

3. Is this a Good Samaritan law program?

No. RWB is a voluntary training program that is designed to focus on the importance of bystander intervention in order to prevent death from alcohol overdose. The goal is to create culture change by helping students understand the importance of recognizing alcohol overdose as a medical emergency and the toxicity that comes with binge drinking. It also provides students with concrete skills and the confidence to intervene which we believe will increase numbers of calls made on behalf of others.

4. Is this an abstinence program?

No. RWB is a training program focused on knowledge, skill, and confidence building regarding preventing death from alcohol overdose. While we do believe that over time, a program such as this will help to change drinking culture on campuses as students are better able to link the impact that alcohol has on the body, this is not a primary prevention program. Students are taught the knowledge and skills to "make the call," and using role plays, given opportunities to build confidence to intervene on behalf of another.

5. Can we get a copy of Stony Brook's curriculum?

Yes. Curriculum packages, which include a training video, are available on request. Please refer to our User Agreement under Training for details on how to obtain one, or contact Lara Hunter, LCSW, Red Watch Band Coordinator at the Center for Prevention and Outreach.

6. How long has this program been in existence?

This program started March 15, 2009, and was launched nationally in early May 2009.

7. How is Red Watch Band funded?

At Stony Brook University, the program receives primary funding through the Office of the President, as well as additional support from the Division of Student Affairs through the Center for Prevention and Outreach.

8. Why do you include CPR training?

The 2.5 hour American Heart Association's HeartSavers training is used both to give students certification in a clear set of skills, as well as help provide context for the medical seriousness of unconsciousness or semi-consciousness. By including CPR certification, the program attracts a wide range of students from those who initially value the CPR certification more than the alcohol emergency portion of the training to those who are very committed to responding to alcohol-related emergencies, but are uncertain about how to intervene most helpfully. Furthermore, it furthers the overall health of the campus community by increasing the number of campus community members who are CPR certified and trained in AED use. Stony Brook's Center for Prevention and Outreach has partnered with departments such as Campus Recreation, Environmental Health and Safety, the Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and University Police to provide the full training.

9. What are the critical resources needed to make this program work?

  • Community buy-in about the importance of a bystander intervention program for alcohol-related medical emergencies from students at the institution all the way to the President's Office.
  • Student input and active involvement.
  • Customization to the campus environment and campus policies.
  • Integration of program into a broader comprehensive alcohol and other drug prevention plan.
  • Institutional support.

10. Who teaches the program?

At Stony Brook, peer health educators and alcohol and other drug specialists teach and facilitate the alcohol emergency portion of the program including the role plays. CPR instructors from across campus partner to provide the CPR certification.

11. What evaluation is there of this program?

Because the program is so new, there are no formal evaluation results at this time. However, student engagement in participating in the training has been high despite little marketing effort on campus. Between the period of March 15 and April 26, 2009, nearly 100 Stony Brook students were trained, and student requests for training continue. Training sessions are planned for the Fall and Spring of the upcoming academic year. As data become available on impact of training, it will be posted to this website.