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Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol: Lessons and Results from a 15 community Randomized Trial

August 1999

Alexander C. Wagenaar, John P. Gehan, Rhonda Jones-Webb, Traci L. Toomey, Jean L. Forster, Mark Wolfson, David M. Murray


This randomized trial attempts to evaluate a policy intervention that was designed to alter “alcohol-related behaviors.” Communities were randomly assigned into two groups: a treatment and a control group. The treatment group underwent community-wide interventions in an attempt to reduce underage drinking by targeting the media, police, alcohol sellers, schools, and so on. Results show that the policies significantly changed the behavior of 18-20 year olds, and altered practices of bars and restaurants.

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Policy Implications

The main contribution of this report stressed the importance of community-wide targeting. These policies proved effective because every member of the community was involved. Therfore, policies that focus on communities as-a-whole, rather than individuals may be a more practical manner of enacting change.

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