The Reducing Underage Drinking Through Coalitions (RUD) program combines coalition enhancement with youth leadership development, prevention planning, and environmental prevention activities.
- To prepare community members to change local practices and policies that promote youth alcohol use
- To raise public awareness of the problem of underage drinking and the benefits of prevention
- To reduce youth access to alcohol
- An effective coalition. Key components can include (AMA, 2006):
- Involving representatives from multiple community sectors (e.g., advocacy groups, health care, law enforcement, schools, liquor control board).
- Forming an advisory board composed of members who support the coalition’s goals and can drive the change process.
- Selecting a coalition director who has a background in community organizing and understands the legislative process.
- Choosing a host agency and determining whether the coalition will operate separately from or as part of that agency.
- The involvement of young people by providing them with training and real opportunities to participate (e.g., offering insights on youth needs and culture, speaking to the media) in the coalition’s ongoing work (AMA, 2006; RWJF, 2007).
- An assessment of prevention needs using existing national, local, and state data on underage drinking.
- An assessment of prevention resources, including existing programs, services, laws/regulations, and enforcement efforts related to underage drinking (AMA, 2006; RWJF, 2007).
- A strategic prevention plan based on the assessment of prevention needs and resources that includes (AMA, 2006):
- Overarching goals
- Objectives that are specific, achievable, and measurable
- A set of action steps designed to meet stated goals and objectives
- Collaboration with local media to raise public awareness of underage drinking and to promote effective practices and policies to address this problem (AMA, 2006; see Media Advocacy). Media advocacy strategies can include:
- Training all coalition members on how to interact with the media.
- Designating a media contact (e.g., coalition director).
- Building relationships with media contacts to situate the coalition as a source of expert information on underage drinking and to identify appropriate channels for prevention messages.
- Creating data-driven prevention messages and ensure that everyone in the coalition stays on message.
- Collaboration with community leaders who are interested in policy changes that impact underage drinking. For example (RWJF, 2007; Wagenaar, Erikson, Harwood, & O’Malley, 2006):
- Mandating keg registration and responsible beverage server training
- Increasing law enforcement resources and conducting compliance checks
- Instituting social host liability and zoning ordinances requiring that alcohol advertisements be situated a certain distance from schools
- Note: Many coalition members are unable to lobby due to job or funding restrictions. Some coalitions hire a consultant or recruit volunteers who lobby on behalf of the coalition.
- Youth under 21
- Different segments of the general population (e.g., alcohol outlets, law enforcement) depending on prevention needs and goals
Relative to non-RUD states, RUD states have demonstrated significant (Wagenaar et al, 2006):
- Increases in media coverage related to underage drinking, alcohol pricing and taxes, and social host liability, but not related to keg registration or compliance checks
- Increases in alcohol policies involving social access, but not those involving commercial access, youth consumption, or alcohol marketing
- Decreases in drinking in the past 12 months among 12th graders, but not among 8th and 10th graders
- Decreases in drinking five or more consecutive drinks in the past two weeks among 12th graders, but not among 8th and 10th graders
- Decreases in getting drunk in the past 30 days among both 8th graders and 12th graders, but not among 10th graders
- Decreases in driving a car after drinking in the past two weeks among 12th graders
No recognition found for the role of the RUD program in preventing underage drinking and/or its consequences.
American Medical Association (AMA). (2006). Building successful coalitions to address underage drinking: A step-by-step guide. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved from: www.clearthinkingcommunications.com/case_studies_for_clear_thinking_communications/ReducingUnderageDrinking.pdf
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). (2007). Reducing Underage Drinking Through Coalitions: An RWJF national program. Program results report. Princeton, NJ: Parker. Retrieved from: https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2007/07/reducing-underage-drinking-through-coalitions.html
Wagenaar, A. C., Erickson, D. J., Harwood, E. M., & O’Malley, P. M. (2006). Effects of state coalitions to reduce underage drinking: A national evaluation. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 31, 307–315.