Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS)

Are you at risk?

  • Have you ever hurt yourself or someone else?
  • Are you failing a class?
  • Are you losing a friendship or relationship due to drinking?
  • Have you ever blacked out?
  • Have you had unprotected sexual intercourse while under the influence?

If you answered yes or maybe to one or more of these questions, BASICS can help you by reducing alcohol related consequences and preventing future alcohol dependence.

Make a BASICS appointment today!

More About BASICS

What Is Basics?

BASICS at the George Washington University (GW) is based on research conducted at the University of Washington and Western Washington University. BASICS is a harm reduction approach to alcohol abuse and aims to reduce harmful consumption and negative consequences associated with high risk drinking.

BASICS helps you explore your alcohol and drug use in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational environment. It's not therapy or substance abuse treatment. The program's goal is to reduce risky behaviors and the harmful consequences of alcohol abuse.

BASICS is a confidential service; no information that you share with the BASICS provider will be shared with other individuals without your consent, except in cases where you or someone else may be in imminent danger.

Who Benefits?

BASICS is designed for students who consume alcohol and/or who have experienced alcohol-related negative consequences. BASICS helps to raise awareness and educate the student on risk factors associated with drinking.

What is the Goal?

BASICS aims to reduce the frequency of high risk drinking and to decrease the harmful effects of drinking alcohol. The BASICS program provides education and personal feedback to assist students in making more responsible decisions around alcohol use.

Participating in BASICS will teach you how to:

  • Calculate blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • Identify high-risk drinking patterns and ways to decrease harmful use.
  • Access resources with practical information about alcohol consumption.
  • Make responsible decisions around social situations involving alcohol.
  • Develop an action plan for change around alcohol consumption.

How Does It Work?

Students who participate in BASICS agree to meet with staff for two sessions. The first session will assess drinking patterns, related attitudes about alcohol and motivation to change drinking behaviors.

The second session includes providing feedback to the student about personal use, risk factors, and strategies to moderate drinking. Students are also given educational materials and information about alcohol consumption. This session assists the student in developing an action plan for change. The student will identify the necessary steps to take to reduce harmful use and to prevent future negative consequences.


Here’s what GW students had to say after participating in BASICS:

  • "It was a great experience, not solely because it changed my behavior, but provided me with a new perspective and a different way of thinking about drinking."
  • "I was pleasantly surprised and it wasn't at all what I expected."
  • "Instead of other programs that say don't drink, BASICS seems more realistic and helped me to drink responsibly."
  • "It was a good experience that helped me to better prepare for future experiences with alcohol."
  • "I thought it was informational which was good. They weren't scolding me or telling me not to drink at all they just gave me the facts about drinking."
  • "I feel good about my experience with the BASICS program and feel that I have learned proper techniques for drinking and how to control myself and have safer nights."
  • "I think it is a very essential program on campus because a lot of students start school as minors and are not really aware of the consequences of drug or alcohol abuse."
  • "It was better than expected. It was a warm and judgement-free environment that made me feel like they really wanted to help me rather than lecture me."