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not been proven to be effective. The easiest interventions to achieve politically are often the least effective in reducing alcohol-related problems. Reliance on the scientifically proven interventions though potentially more difficult to implement can prevent years of wasted effort.

Examples of What Works

In contrast, four other major experimental studies of community mobilization have demonstrated what does work. Project Northland in Minnesota was a randomized community trial implemented in 24 communities with a study population in early adolescence and in the final years of high school. There were three phases. In the early phase, the project’s interventions included school curricula, parent involvement, peer leadership, and community task forces. During the second phase, there were no interventions. In the third phase, the interventions were classroom curriculum, parent education, a print media campaign, and youth development and community organizing. The evaluation measured the tendency to use alcohol, to drink heavily, and to obtain alcoholic beverages. The project had its greatest success in the early years; the progress eroded during the period of no intervention and showed modest success in the final phase. The failure of the project to maintain its effectiveness during the interim phase demonstrates the importance of intervention throughout adolescence, and it also points to the significance of community-level policy and other actions that change community norms around youthful drinking (Perry et al., 2002). The Project Northland team has increased their focus on community-level change in a replication of the program that is currently under way in 61 schools and communities in the Chicago area.

A 5-year community alcohol trauma prevention trial, the Community Trials Program, involving a quasi-experimental design with three experimental communities and matched controls in California and in South Carolina, used community mobilization and strategic use of the mass media. It addressed all alcohol use, not only that of underage youth. Two of three communities were composed primarily of ethnic minority residents, which may have implications for implementing prevention efforts in other minority communities. The program had five mutually reinforcing components:

  1. Community mobilization addressed support for public policy interventions by increasing general awareness, knowledge, and concern about alcohol-related trauma. Program initiatives were jointly planned by project organizers and local residents and implemented by the residents.

  2. The responsible beverage service component sought to reduce sales to intoxicated patrons and increase enforcement of local alcohol laws by

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