Between 1997 and 1997, the National Black Women's Health Project, Washington, organized and mobilized students at historically black colleges so the students would become knowledgeable about the impact of youth substance use and abuse and to become active in prevention and intervention strategies on their campuses and in the surrounding communities.
Compared with their college peers, African-American college students are distinguished by their low rates of use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
However, substance abuse trends in the overall youth population had worsened. And the alcohol and tobacco industries have been targeting of minority groups.
These developments raised concerns among advocates for African Americans' health—including administrators at historically black colleges and universities—about maintaining the low rates of substance abuse.
Staff from the National Black Women's Health Project made presentations on a variety of women's health issues and trained 95 students on seven campuses as facilitators of self-help groups.
The project developed a model substance abuse prevention curriculum. The curriculum, which was reviewed by participating faculty and students at the colleges, contained eight modules.
A manual, Peer Mentoring and Substance Abuse Prevention Curriculum and Resource Guide,summarized the curriculum and served as a reference source for self-help training. The curriculum was used at each of the participating colleges.Project staff produced two fact sheets discussing substance abuse among African-American women and disseminated them at the participating colleges.
An evaluation found that faculty and staff understood and supported the goals of the program and were committed to continuing it beyond the grant period.