Reducing Youth Access to Alcohol (RYAA)


Reducing Youth Access to Alcohol (RYAA) combines multiple environmental prevention strategies, such as community organization, compliance surveys, compliance checks, party patrols, and media advocacy.


  • To increase community support for policy and program changes to address underage drinking
  • To reduce commercial and social availability of alcohol to underage youth
  • To increase visibility of enforcement efforts to curb underage drinking and its consequences

Typical Elements

The RYAA program involves the following typical elements (Flewelling et al., 2013):

  • A communication strategy to raise public awareness about underage drinking and related consequences and build support for the intervention. Activities can include:         
    • Presenting local underage drinking data, risks associated with underage alcohol consumption, and an overview of project activities to community stakeholders (e.g., city councils, chambers of commerce, school boards, community coalitions, business owners, and residents).     
    • Inviting community stakeholders to sign a community proclamation supporting laws targeting underage drinking.   
    • Using local media (e.g., school/community newsletters, newspapers, radio, TV, social network sites) to disseminate prevention messages and build support for prevention activities (see Media Advocacy). For example, submitting educational articles with information about local statistics on underage drinking, the dangers of allowing drinking in the home, social host liability, and prevention/intervention efforts.
  • Reward and Reminder visits. This involves:
    • Selecting a random sample of 20 off-premise outlets (or all outlets in communities with less than 20). 
    • Conducting a compliance survey. Provide sales clerks and management staff who ask for proof of legal age with congratulatory letters and gift certificates (i.e., the “Reward”), and provide notices to the sales clerks (not management) who  fail to ask for ID (i.e., the “Reminder”).
  • Strong law enforcement activities. Activities can include:         
  • Ongoing community outreach and coordination. Activities can include:         
    • Collaborating with prevention coordinators and coalition members to support specific intervention efforts (e.g., conduct community presentations, provide law enforcement training, coordinate Reward and Reminder visits) 
    • Holding community networking meetings that include prevention coordinators and law enforcement (e.g., to discuss key prevention topics, plan intervention efforts, pursue additional funding opportunities)


  • Youth under age 21
  • Alcohol retailers


Relative to comparison communities, communities that completed the RYAA program demonstrated a (Flewelling et al., 2013):

  • Reduction in off-premise underage alcohol sales
  • Marginal reduction in the perception that people over 21 years old would not buy alcohol for a minor


Reducing Youth Access to Alcohol: Findings from a Community-Based Randomized Trial

Using Statewide Youth Surveys to Evaluate Local Drug Use Policies and Interventions


No recognition found for the role of the RYAA program in preventing underage drinking and/or its consequences.


Flewelling, R. L., Grube, J. W., Paschall, M. J., Biglan, A., Kraft, A., Black, C., . . . Ruscoe, J. (2013). Reducing youth access to alcohol: Findings for a community-based randomized trial. American Journal of Community Psychology, 51(0), 264–277. Retrieved from

Paschall, M. J., Flewelling, R. L., & Grube, J. W. (2009). Using statewide youth surveys to evaluate local drug use policies and interventions. Contemporary Drug Problems, 36(3/4), 427–446. Retrieved from