Community Trials Intervention to Reduce High-Risk Drinking


Implemented by coalitions over several years, the Community Trials (CT) Intervention to Reduce High-Risk Drinking combines public awareness campaigns, responsible beverage service, and enforcement of existing alcohol laws.


  • To correct misperceptions about underage drinking in the community
  • To limit commercial availability of alcohol to underage youth

Typical Elements

  • Assessment and communication strategies to raise public awareness about underage drinking and related consequences and build support for the intervention (Treno, Gruenewald, Lee, & Remer, 2007, Holder et al., 2000). Activities can include:
    • Identifying and summarizing existing data related to underage drinking and problem drinking at the local level
    • Collecting new local data, if needed
    • Preparing informative and persuasive presentations and literature (e.g., brochures, fact sheets, etc.)
    • Delivering neighborhood presentations and encouraging dialogue among community members
    • Developing a community advisory board to guide intervention efforts
    • Using local media to disseminate prevention messages and build support for prevention activities
  • Collaborating agencies at the state and local levels (e.g., hospitality organizations) to help sponsor and promote responsible beverage service (Saltz & Stanghetta, 1997). 
  • Responsible beverage service training for managers and servers at all on- and off-premise licensed alcohol outlets using a curriculum-based training that (Saltz & Stanghetta, 1997):
    • Identifies consequences associated with underage drinking, sale to minors, and serving intoxicated persons
    • Showcases data on community norms against the sale of alcohol to minors and intoxicated persons
    • Promotes techniques to aid servers in age identification, estimating intoxication levels, and interacting with customers
    • Provides information about laws and associated penalties for sales to minors and intoxicated persons
    • Coaches owners and managers on existing policies and provides new policy options to reduce sales to minors and intoxicated persons
  • Collaboration between local community leaders and law enforcement to increase enforcement of drinking and driving laws through sobriety checkpoints (Holder et al., 2000; Voas, 1997).
  • Collaboration between local community leaders and law enforcement to reduce youth’s commercial access to alcohol. Activities can include:
    • Increasing compliance checks and purchase surveys (Grube, 1997)
    • Sending letters to off-premise outlets informing them of increased enforcement efforts as well as letters of congratulations to premises that do not sell to minors during compliance checks (Treno et al., 2007)
    • Using zoning and municipal regulations to limit the location and density of alcohol outlets in the community (Reynolds, Holder, & Gruenewald, 1997)


  • Youth under age 21
  • Adults
  • Alcohol retailers
  • Law enforcement officers


Relative to comparison communities, CT communities demonstrated greater reductions in underage sales of alcohol (Grube, 1997; Holder, 2001; Holder et al., 1997; Treno et al., 2007).


Community Trials Intervention to Reduce High-Risk Drinking  


National Institute of Justice: Crime Solutions


Grube, J. W. (1997). Preventing sales of alcohol to minors: Results from a community trial. Addiction, 92(Suppl2), S251–S260.

Holder, H. D. (2001). Community prevention trials: A respectful partnership. American Journal of Health Behavior, 25(3), 234–244.

Holder, H. D., Gruenewald, P. J., Ponicki, W. R., Treno, A. J., Grube, J. W ., Saltz, R. F., . . . Roeper, P. (2000). Effect of community-based interventions on high-risk drinking and alcohol-related injuries. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(18), 2341–2347.

Holder, H. D., Saltz, R. F., Grube, J. W., Treno, A. J., Reynolds, R. I., Voas, R. B., & Gruenewald, P. J. (1997). Summing up: Lessons from a comprehensive community prevention trial. Addiction, 92(Suppl2), S293–S301.

Reynolds, R. I., Holder, H. D., & Gruenewald, P. J. (1997). Community prevention and alcohol retail access. Addiction, 92(Suppl2), S261–S272.

Saltz, R., & Stanghetta, P. (1997). A community-wide responsible beverage service program in three communities: Early findings. Addiction, 92(Suppl2), S237–S249.

Treno, A. J., Gruenewald, P. J., Lee, J. P., & Remer, L. G. (2007). The Sacramento Neighborhood Alcohol Prevention Project: Outcomes from a community prevention trial. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68(2), 197–207.

Voas, R. B. (1997). Drinking and driving prevention in the community: Program planning and implementation. Addiction, 92(Suppl2), S201–S219.