The Alcohol and Other Drugs Risk Reduction (AOD) team strives to improve the health and safety of Western students and our campus community by encouraging responsible, safe, and informed decision making regarding substance use. By utilizing a nonjudgmental, risk reduction approach, we support students in seeking positive ways to consider their health, education, community, and others when considering alcohol or other substance use. AOD supports those who use and those who do not. AOD does not encourage underage use but recognizes the reality that drinking and drug use has been an ongoing challenge in the college culture for many years. 


AOD consists of highly trained Peer Health Educators. These Peer Health Educators teach different risk reduction classes to fellow students that cover moderation strategies and risk reduction methods for alcohol and marijuana use. In addition, AOD provides outreach and information to the WWU community through posters, information booths, and awareness events. 

AOD recognizes there are many unique factors that contribute to the way alcohol and other substances fit into college life and culture and that, as a whole, we have all been impacted by chemical substances in our society. AOD also recognizes we cannot simply educate our way out of the problems that accompany heavy substance use, nor can punitive measures be the main approach. Solutions must come from a combination of different approaches. AOD uses a risk reduction approach to address the issue. Students are asked to explore new ways to approach their substance use and to think about the pros and cons of their own use. Students are asked to find where the balance is for themselves and are encouraged to experiment with new moderation strategies that can help them reach the goals they set for themselves to be more productive and healthier people.

Main Message

  • Students can learn to avoid unwanted consequences while still having a good time should they choose to drink
  • Students can have an enjoyable college experience without substance use
  • Most college students overestimate the amount and frequency of alcohol and other drug use among their peers
  • With increased consumption comes increasing risk for unwanted and sometimes serious consequences
  • More alcohol often does not lead to a better time
  • The pleasurable effects from alcohol can mostly be had from smaller amounts, without the harms that often accompany heavier consumption
  • Heavier substance use often carries a level of unpredictability. Anything can happen once a person loses their cognitive and body functions
  • Students often value the things that heavy drinking and drug use can negatively affect, like friendships, personal health and academic performance

Outreach Programs

One-on-One Risk Reduction Sessions

AOD offers one-on-one alcohol sessions based on a best-practice, evidenced-based program. These are meant to help students take a look at their own personal relationship to drinking and motivate them to consider safer drinking and partying options to reduce risk.

We also offer alcohol and marijuana risk reduction presentations on and off campus to inform and increase awareness about safer drinking and marijuana use options and other aspects that these substances play in student life.

There are many additional outreach opportunities throughout the academic year for tabling events, collaborative events on and off campus, getting alcohol and other drug risk reduction messaging on media, PSA announcements, and many other avenues that are open for innovative and creative ideas.

For more information or to request an outreach program, please submit a Program Request Form.