UCSB won an award for alcohol education, although not for the extensive unofficial research the student body has performed on the subject.

The American Automobile Association presented Chancellor Henry Yang with the first place award in the 2002-03 College and University Drinking and Driving Prevention Awards on June 5. The award recognized UCSB’s Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Program for excellence in areas ranging from education to intervention.

UCSB, which first won the award in 2001, received the top regional prize of $5,000 for beating out colleges and universities in California, New Mexico, Texas, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

The Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Program was the first program of its kind in the UC system when it was formed in 1980. The program performs functions including organizing alcohol-free recreation options for students, overseeing student and peer education groups, and incorporating alcohol and drug awareness into class curriculums.

Six undergraduate classes at UCSB focus solely on alcohol and drug education, and the topic receives some attention in several other courses.

Ian Kaminsky, the program’s director, said student surveys show alcohol consumption has declined in the past decade or so at UCSB. In 1989, 88 percent of students reported they had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. By 2003, that number had dropped to 78 percent. The decline follows a national downward trend.

Kaminsky stressed that those numbers do not mean the work is done for the Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Program.

“There’s been a history of trying to say there isn’t a problem when there clearly is,” Kaminsky said. “There are still alcohol and drug problems in Isla Vista, but we’re working on it, as evidenced by this award.”