The Louisiana Center Addressing Substance Use (LaCASU) was developed as a result of Louisiana State Univerisity’s participation in an institutional study titled, “A Matter of Degree” (AMOD). In 1998, LSU was one of ten schools selected for this project. This selection followed the 1997 drinking death of an LSU student, LSU received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for participation in a five-year grant project administered by the American Medical Association and evaluated by Harvard School of Public Health. The ten schools, all with high binge drinking rates, applied a campus-community environmental model to their alcohol prevention efforts. Each was required to initiate a campus-community coalition; to target areas which included community policy, better enforcement of alcohol laws, alcohol advertising, campus alcohol education, on-and off campus living environments, and campus alcohol policy; and the ten schools tracked their progress by administering a yearly alcohol/drug survey to a sample of students.
After the initial 5-year study, LSU was provided with funding from RWJF to extend the study another three years. Description and results of study can be found at the College Alcohol Study website.
In 2002, the Louisiana Higher Education Coalition (LaHEC) was established to serve as a statewide network of institutions of higher education and key community and statewide stakeholders. The intended purpose was to replicate the campus-community coalition mechanism and implementation of environmental prevention strategies (per requirement for 2003-2007 AMOD funding). LaHEC is managed by the LaCASU office.