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Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility
working with restaurants, bar and hotel associations, beverage wholesalers, the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, and local law enforcement.
Another component sought to decrease driving after drinking by increasing the number of DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrests through a combination of special officer training, deployment of passive alcohol sensors, and the use of sobriety checkpoints. News coverage publicized these activities.
A component directed toward underage drinking sought to reduce alcohol sales to minors by enforcing underage sales laws; the training of sales clerks, owners, and managers to prevent sales of alcohol to minors; and the strategic use of the news media to bring media attention to the issue of underage drinking.
Local zoning and other municipal powers that determine alcohol outlet density were used to reduce availability of alcohol.
This multicomponent approach resulted in a 43 percent decline in alcohol-related assault admissions to hospitals and decreases in heavy drinking. There was strong support for the efficacy of a coordinated, comprehensive community-based intervention to reduce high-risk alcohol consumption and alcohol-related trauma, although frequency of drinking did not change and there was a slight increase in the number of persons who reported any drinking in the intervention communities (Holder et al., 2000).
Intermediate outcomes also indicated success, including decreases in alcohol outlet sales to underage-appearing pseudo-patrons without identification. Local regulations of alcohol outlets and public sites for drinking were changed in all three experimental communities. Changes in the Northern California intervention city were typical. The city council implemented a proposal to eliminate special land use conditions for alcohol outlets, adopted restrictions on the availability of alcohol in city parks, denied a new alcohol license, revoked a retailer’s conditional use permit because of liquor sales violations, and instituted a citywide ordinance requiring new owners of offsite and onsite alcohol outlets to complete a responsible server course. In addition, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce voted to make its annual festival alcohol free.
The DWI reduction component resulted in an increase in news coverage of DWI arrests, additional police enforcement, greater use of breathalyzer equipment, and increased public perceptions of risk of arrest for DWI. Alcohol-related crash involvement as measured by single vehicle night crashes declined 10 to 11 percent more among program than comparison communities.
Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) was a 6-year project designed to test creative approaches to reducing drinking by young people. The project was implemented in seven small to mid-sized communi-