Alcohol Intervention (BASICS) Program
Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS)
Penn State students who have an alcohol violation on or off campus, or an alcohol-related visit to the emergency department at Mt. Nittany Medical Center are required by the University to complete the BASICS program administered by Health Promotion and Wellness. Students who do not have a violation but who are interested in learning more about alcohol are also encouraged to use the confidential service free of charge.
How to Schedule
When leaving a phone message to schedule appointments, please leave your full name, Penn State Access ID (abc123), and a phone number with area code. A staff member will contact you by phone or email during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday).
The BASICS program uses a harm-reduction approach designed to:
- Help you explore your alcohol use in a non-judgmental setting
- Reduce risky behavior and harmful consequences of alcohol abuse
- Identify changes that could help you reduce your risk
- Provide important information and skills for risk-reduction
Students who have an alcohol policy/legal violation are mandated to complete BASICS by Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct or Penn State Residence Life. Students may also be referred by a county or district magistrate.
The BASICS program consists of two one-hour sessions with a Health Promotion and Wellness staff member. During the first session, you will meet individually with a staff member and complete an online questionnaire. You will also be screened for alcohol abuse, depression, and anxiety. At the second session, you will discuss your questionnaire and personalized feedback with the staff member. You will receive a personalized feedback report that includes a comparison of your drinking to other Penn State students. You will explore ways to reduce future health, social, and legal risks. Additional sessions beyond the first two may be required for some students.
Students with an alcohol policy/legal violation who are required to complete the program, as described above, are required to pay a $250 fee. You may pay with cash, a check, debit or credit card, or LionCash. Students need to pay for BASICS at the first session. If a student does not pay the program fee, Health Promotion and Wellness will place a hold on their student registration. The hold will be placed as a result of not fulfilling the requirements for completing the Student Conduct sanction. The hold will be released when the program fee is paid in full.
Students who are mandated must cancel or reschedule an appointment at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment time to avoid a $100 no-show fee. If you miss an appointment and/or do not cancel or reschedule at least 24 hours prior to your appointment you will be charged a no-show fee. You are responsible for paying this fee (with cash, a check, debit or credit card, or LionCash) at the time of your appointment. If you are unable to pay the no-show fee at the time of your appointment, your appointment will be rescheduled.
The information you share during BASICS sessions is confidential; however, we will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law. We may use and disclose health information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent that threat. Mandated students will be asked to acknowledge a release of information statement that will allow staff to verify completion with the appropriate Penn State offices.
An Evidence-Based Program
Penn State’s BASICS program is based on a program created by Dr. Alan Marlatt (Former Director, Addictive Behaviors Research Center and Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington). The BASICS program is one of the most effective alcohol education interventions with college students. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has recognized BASICS as an evidence-based model program.