Program

Feb 27, 2013

OVERVIEW

Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol is a program designed to engage various community institutions–such as alcohol retailers, schools, and law enforcement–in a joint effort to decrease alcohol abuse and drunk driving among adolescents and youth. An experimental evaluation showed that communities with this program experienced declines in drunk driving arrests for youth 15-20.  Another evaluation found an increase in the proportion of alcohol outlets that checked purchasers’ identification, and a decrease in the proportion of 18- to 20-year-olds who purchased alcohol for younger teenagers.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: This is a community-level media campaign focusing on youth ages 15-20 who are at risk for engaging in drunk driving.

Community organizers, hired in each program community, worked with several community institutions, including local public officials, law enforcement, alcohol merchants, the media, and local schools, to affect community policies and reduce underage access to alcohol over the course of 2.5 years (Wagenaar, Murray, & Toomey, 2000).  During the program implementation period, there were changes in alcohol retail policies and practices, in media attention to alcohol issues, and in law enforcement practices.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Wagenaar, A.C., Murray, D.M., & Toomey, T.L. (2000). Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA): Effects of a randomized trial on arrests and traffic crashes. Addiction, 95, 209-217.

Evaluated population: Fifteen Midwestern communities participated in this study.

Approach: Communities were randomly assigned to the program or to the control condition.  Comparisons were based on city data on arrests and traffic crashes for the six years prior to, and the three years spanning the program implementation.

Results: In comparison with the control communities, the program communities had a decline in drunk driving arrests among young people ages 18 to 20 years, and among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17. There was no measurable impact on motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), although the authors note that the study design did not have strong power to detect changes in MVC occurrence.

Wagenaar, A.C., Murray, D.M., Gehan, J.P., Wolfson, M., Foster, J.L., Toomey, T.L., Perry, C.L., & Jones-Webb, R. (2000). Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol: Outcomes from a randomized community trial. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 61, 85-94.

Evaluated population: Fifteen Midwestern communities, with an average population of 20,836, participated in this study.

Approach: Communities were matched on state, presence of a residential college or university, population size, and results of alcohol purchase attempts at baseline, and were then randomly assigned to the intervention or control condition. Data to assess access to alcohol and drinking behavior were collected using surveys of alcohol retailers and alcohol purchase attempts by confederates who appeared to be under 21. .

Results: There was an increase in the proportion of alcohol outlets that checked identification and a decrease in alcohol sales to confederate buyers who looked underage. However, the results of the merchant surveys indicated that there was no change in checking identification for those who appeared to be under 30, the perceived likelihood of receiving a citation for serving or selling to minors, or the likelihood of selling alcohol to a 21-year-old accompanied by a minor.  There was a significant decrease in the proportion of 18- to 20-year-olds providing alcohol to younger teenagers, but only a marginal decrease in 18- to 20-year- olds who tried to purchase alcohol,  and a marginal increase in their perceived difficulty in purchasing alcohol.  In terms of drinking behavior, there was a marginal decrease in the proportion of 18- to 20-year-olds who drank in the past 30 days, but there were no changes in the number of drinking occasions, number of drinks during the last drinking occasion, and the number of binge drinking episodes. There were no changes in drinking behaviors for high school seniors.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: http://www.epi.umn.edu/alcohol/cmca/

References:

Wagenaar, A.C., Murray, D.M., Gehan, J.P., Wolfson, M., Foster, J.L., Toomey, T.L., Perry, C.L., & Jones-Webb, R. (2000). Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol: Outcomes from a randomized community trial. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 61, 85-94.

Wagenaar, A.C., Murray, D.M., & Toomey, T.L. (2000). Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA): Effects of a randomized trial on arrests and traffic crashes. Addiction, 95, 209-217.

KEYWORDS: Substance Use, Alcohol Use, Drinking and Driving, Youth, Adolescence (12-17), Community-based, Arrest Rates, Young Adulthood (18-24), Community/Media, Behavioral Problems, White or Caucasian.

Program information last updated 2/27/13.