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Students, faculty and staff members will engage in lunchtime discussions and peer education programs focusing on alcohol abuse as organizers launch this fall's Alcohol Awareness Week. The five-day long program, which starts today, will try to address all effects and types of substance abuse, according to organizers. "We're trying to target faculty, staff and students and get as many programs out there as possible that will concern them," said College senior Liz Weiner, a co-organizer of the program. "Alcohol is the number one drug on college campuses," she added. "We're all affected by alcohol in some way." Some discussions will address ways of coping with stress, living with alcoholics, problem drinking and recovery from alcoholism. Other forms of addiction will also be covered, including eating disorders, gambling and illegal drug use. "We really tried to branch out with connections with other offices on campus," said Robert Tintner, assistant to the director of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education. "This year is our most inclusive and best effort." The peer education programs -- in which students talk to other students about alcohol abuse on campus -- are the primary emphasis this week and will take place at night in residences, fraternities and sororities. Officials organized the programs, which are open to all students, because of requests by students. Some fraternities will hold "mocktail" parties and will talk with other students about alternative social events. There will also be programs in two sororities that concern women and alcohol. "We think that the peer education program really works," Tintner said. "Students listen to other students." The noon-time discussions will be brown bag lunches and will be held in Houston Hall. Administrators or keynote speakers will facilitate most of these programs. "The purpose of the week is not to preach at all, but to convey information and raise the overall consciousness of the University community," coordinator Weiner said.

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