SCOPE Synopsis, August 2012 #7

OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention) Development Grants to Colleges Yield Improvement in Underage Drinking Enforcement

Colleges and universities bear the brunt of the effects of heavy episodic drinking. In 2008, The OJJDP funded an Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws College Discretionary Initiative to “support and focus the efforts of colleges and their surrounding communities to reduce alcohol beverage availability and consumption by underage college students.” The initiative sought  “encouraging innovative partnerships between campus and community enforcement, student groups, college administrations and departments, community and neighborhood organizations, coalitions, businesses, faith-based organizations, and others,” as well as encouraged planning and engaging in “evidence-based activities to inform institutional policies and enforcement to reduce the consumption culture.”

Seven college/university communities were funded to use environmental strategies and received “intensive technical assistance and training in strategic planning and law enforcement from the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC).” Results from the following schools can be found at the link above: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Charleston, Clemson University, Furman University, University of South Carolina, University of Nevada- Reno and Eastern Illinois University. Overall, “expanding partnerships, refining and advertising campus alcohol policies, and visibly enforcing the minimum legal drinking age laws had a positive effect on campus culture, student outcomes, and community environments.”


2010 Town Hall Meetings: Mobilizing Communities to Prevent and Reduce Underage Alcohol Use

In 2006, 2008 and 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) coordinated national Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking. Surveys were completed by participating community-based organizations. Town Hall Meetings “appear to be an effective and growing approach in raising public awareness of underage drinking as a public health problem and mobilizing communities to take preventive action.”

In 2010, SAMHSA found geographic diversity in the occurrence of town hall meetings, larger numbers of Town Hall Meetings and hosting organizations, diverse community stakeholders, strong involvement of youth in planning and conducting Town Hall Meetings, community support and positive perceptions of stakeholder engagement. Additionally, “Many communities pledged to continue and strengthen their efforts to prevent and reduce underage drinking.” Other outcomes were increased local capacity, increased community support for policies that prevent underage drinking and continuing action at the local and state levels.

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