In 1997, the College Alcohol Survey, a national study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, found that 62.5% of University of Nebraska—Lincoln students engaged in binge drinking at least once in a two-week period. (The graphic showing the binge drinking rates at UNL can be removed.) The University was invited to apply for one of ten A Matter of Degree grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to address the problem from a comprehensive environmental approach. The NU Directions Campus Community Coalition was formed, and an ambitious strategic plan was developed and implemented.
The effort proved successful, and in 2006, the NU Directions coalition and the Nebraska Prevention Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse were awarded a Model Program grant from the United States Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools to replicate the effort across the state of Nebraska.
During the past decade the statewide coalition has expanded to include 26 institutions of higher education which have participated in extensive training in campus organizing, needs assessments, strategic planning, implementation of best practices to reduce substance use and other essential skills related to reducing high-risk drinking. In 2013, the Omaha Collegiate Consortium (OCC) was formed by a subset of member institutions in the greater Omaha metro area. The OCC continues to secure grant funding for their efforts to reduce substance use and related harms on their campuses and in their shared community. The NCC continues to develop as an organization and expand the array of services available to an ever-growing membership. The landscape of prevention in higher education has also changed during the last several years and in an effort to better address the realities that our member institutions are currently operating in, it became apparent that we needed to broaden our scope of work to include prevention related to marijuana, prescription drugs, illicit and polysubstance use. In addition to this change in scope, we’ve also recognized the need to be able to address student well-being and mental health as oftentimes these issues go hand in hand with alcohol and drug use. In January of 2021 the NCC rebranded the statewide coalition as the Nebraska Collegiate Prevention Alliance (NECPA) to better reflect our new commitments.