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Prevention Strategies

As noted in the Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking , "Underage alcohol use is not inevitable, and schools, parents, and other adults are not powerless to stop it."

The Resources listed below provide an overview of prevention approaches that are available to communities and are supported by evidence. Many of these resources describe environmental prevention. Environmental prevention means changing the environment in ways that make alcohol less available and appealing to young people. Some goals of environmental prevention are to change social norms or attitudes relating to the use of alcohol, to control the availability of alcohol, and to strengthen enforcement of laws and regulations governing its use. The Websites below provide additional information on available approaches and their effectiveness.


The Community Guide
The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) is a resource for evidence-based findings and recommendations about what works to improve public health. The reviews found on The Community Guide website systematically assess all available scientific evidence to determine the effectiveness of population-based public health interventions. The Community Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, nonfederal panel, has recommended 8 strategies for the prevention of excessive drinking, including underage and binge drinking, based on systematic reviews to ensure that practice, policy, and research funding decisions are informed by the highest quality evidence.

Focus On Prevention
This guide was developed to help a wide range of groups and communities move from concerns about substance abuse to proven and practical solutions. It is a starting point that offers brief, practical, and easy-to-read information that is useful in planning and delivering prevention strategies. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010)

Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Enhanced Enforcement of Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors
This factsheet about preventing excessive alcohol consumption provides general information on laws prohibiting sales to minors, and it includes recommendations and results from a systematic review process on practices and policies related to excessive alcohol consumption. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; January 2011)

Application of Antitrust Principles to Voluntary Industry Efforts to Restrict Marketing to Underage Drinking
Restrictions in industry self-regulatory codes that are reasonably designed to prevent the targeting of alcohol advertising to underage persons are unlikely to violate the antitrust laws. (U.S. Federal Trade Commission; no date)

PDF Icon Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series No. 27: Underage Drinking
This Problem-Specific Guide summarizes knowledge about how police can reduce the harm caused by underage drinking. It is intended as a guide to promoting prevention and to improving the overall response to incidents, not to investigating offenses or handling specific incidents. (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice; August 2010)

PDF Icon OJJDP in Focus: Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention manages the Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) program, which supports and enhances efforts by States and local jurisdictions to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. The program encourages close partnerships between law enforcement agencies and community groups involved in preventing and intervening in underage drinking. This publication describes the EUDL program objectives and provides case examples of local grantee efforts. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice; October 2009)


Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) Web site
The APIS Web site provides detailed information on 35 alcohol-related policies at the State and Federal levels. Detailed information by State is available for each policy. Click on Highlight on Underage Drinking for an overview of underage drinking in the United States; alcohol policies affecting drinking by those under age 21, including enforcement policies affecting businesses; and prevention resources available through APIS. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

College Drinking: Changing the Culture
A website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that provides comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse prevention among college students.

Impaired Driving Safety Program
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works to discourage impaired driving by using a three-pronged strategy: high-visibility law enforcement with supporting communication campaigns; enhanced prosecution and adjudication; and medical screening and brief intervention for alcohol abuse problems. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation)

"Talk. They Hear You."
"Talk. They Hear You." is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national media campaign to encourage the parents of 9- to 15-year-olds talk with their children about alcohol use. Research shows that parents are the most important influence on a child’s decision to use alcohol or not. Start the Talk is an interactive tool that parents can use to practice bringing up the topic of alcohol; learn the questions to ask; and get ideas for keeping the conversation going.

We Don’t Serve Teens
Retailers can take steps to reduce teen drinking by making sure they don’t sell to underage youth. This website offers tips for reducing young people’s access to alcohol. (Federal Trade Commission)