Sep 01, 2009


Class Action is a school-based, two-year-long,
multi-component program designed to delay the onset of alcohol use, reduce use
among youth who have already experimented with alcohol, and limit the number of
alcohol-related problems experienced by young drinkers. The program has
community, school, peer, and family level components and is administered to students
in grades 11 and 12. In an experimental study of 24 school districts,
each school districts were randomly assigned to the
intervention or to a no-treatment control condition. The intervention
impacted students, parents, and communities. Students involved in the
intervention were less likely to intend to use alcohol or engage in binge
drinking than their control group peers. In addition, in intervention
communities, alcohol vendors were less likely to sell alcohol to young-looking
customers and parents had less permissive norms.


Target Population:11th
and 12th graders.

Class Action is the second phase of Project Northland and is
aimed at discouraging substance use in youth. Class Action is designed to
address community, school, peer, and family factors affecting student alcohol

Students receive eight to ten peer-led classroom sessions
emphasizing the social and legal consequences and community responsibilities
concerning alcohol use in youth. The intervention is given in a mock
trial format in which the students act as legal teams on cases involving youth
alcohol use. Topics covered in mock trials include drinking and driving,
fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related vandalism and violence, date rape, and
school policies on alcohol. Peer action teams at each high school involve
students in developing projects aimed at influencing peers to abstain from
alcohol. Student in the intervention group receive the six-session
classroom curriculum during 11th grade and participate in peer
action teams during 11th and 12th grades. Parents
in the intervention school districts receive prevention and tip postcards
during their children’s 11th and 12th
grade years.

Parents and students are also recruited for a campaign targeted
at encouraging communication about alcohol. As part of this effort,
parents are sent 11 postcards containing tips on communicating and working with
their kids.

Community-based print media campaigns emphasize the
importance of blocking underage individuals’ access to alcohol. Furthermore,
community action teams work to reduce youth’s
commercial and social access to alcohol. The community action teams
sponsor responsible beverage server training programs, do compliance checks in
alcohol outlets, work at community festivals, and attempt to get their
community to adopt new policies related to youth alcohol use.

The cost of the complete Class Action curriculum is $495 and
includes 42 casebooks, a CD-ROM and teacher’s manual
with reproducible handouts, and 30 sets of parent postcards. Additional
packs of 36 casebooks and 120 parent postcards cost $375 each. One day
training programs are available but not required for implementation.


Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Komro,
K. A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Stigler, M. H., Munson,
K. A., Farbakhsh, R. M. J., & Forster, J. L.
(2002). Project Northland: Long-Term Outcomes of Community Action to
Reduce Adolescent Alcohol Use. Health Education Research, 17,117-132.

Evaluated population: 2953 students
from 24 high schools in rural northeast Minnesota
participated in the study from the Fall of 11th
grade until the spring of 12th grade. These students were
originally recruited beginning in grade 6, when they received a Project Northland
intervention which they participated in through grade 9. The Class Action
intervention was adapted for these same students as they matured and entered
their later high school years.

Approach: In a randomized controlled study,
school districts were randomly assigned to Class Action or to the control
condition. Students from 12 high schools received the Class Action
intervention, and students from the remaining 12 schools received routine
educational services. Students were given a baseline survey on alcohol
use and psychosocial risk factors for alcohol use at the beginning of their 11th
grade year and were surveyed each spring until graduation.

Data were collected at tenth and twelfth grades.
Parents participated in baseline telephone surveys which assessed risk factors
such as permissive norms toward alcohol use, opposition to alcohol control
policies, and lack of parental monitoring. Finally, the print media and
community action teams were also implemented in the intervention communities
throughout these two years. The non-intervention students, parents, and
communities did not receive any treatment. Self-reported alcohol use and
psychosocial risk survey responses between the beginning of 11th and
end of 12th grades were used in analyses on student outcomes.

In order to assess the effectiveness of the community-level
campaigns, the study measured the ability of adolescents to obtain alcohol from
alcohol vendors. Buyer success rate was measured.

Results: Students in the intervention schools
were significantly less likely than those in no-treatment schools to increase
overall alcohol use, alcohol use intentions, and binge drinking over the course
of the intervention. However, the groups did not differ in changes in
recent alcohol use. The groups also did not differ on any of the
psychosocial risk factors for alcohol, including peer influence, self-efficacy,
or perceived access to alcohol. Parents in the intervention group had significantly
less permissive norms than parents from the non-intervention group.
However, parents in the two groups did not differ on acceptability of underage
drinking, opposition to alcohol control policies, or parental monitoring.
Finally, intervention communities had significantly lower buyer success rates
among young-looking customers compared to non-intervention communities.


Intervention materials may be obtained from:

Roxanne Schladweiler

Executive Director of Sales

Hazelden Publishing and
Educational Services

15251 Pleasant Valley

Center City,
MN 55012

Phone: (800) 328-9000; Fax: (651) 213-4577


Web site:


Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Komro,
K. A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Stigler, M. H., Munson,
K. A., Farbakhsh, R. M. J., & Forster, J. L.
(2002). Project Northland: Long-Term Outcomes of Community Action to
Reduce Adolescent Alcohol Use. Health Education Research, 17,117-132.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Alcohol Use, Civic Engagement, Community or Media Campaign, Helping
Behavior/Social Responsibility, High School, Parent or Family Component,
Parent-Management Skills, Peer Pressure, Rural and/or Frontier, School-based, Any Substance Use, White/Caucasian, Youth, Co-ed, Manual, Cost

Program information last updated 9/1/09