Youth Drinking Prevention Less Effective in Urban Community

Source: Research Summary, 3/19/2008
A model prevention program that worked well in rural communities did not achieve the same results in curbing drinking among middle-school students in an urban area, a new study finds.

Science Daily reported March 17 that researchers said that Project Northland, a prevention program that reduced alcohol use 20-30 percent over three years in rural Minnesota, had no impact on middle-schoolers in Chicago who took part in the program versus those who did not.

Study lead author Kelli A. Komro of the University of Florida College of Medicine said the negative findings in Chicago surprised researchers. “This is an important finding to realize this program was not enough,” said Komro. “The bottom line is this: Low-income children in urban areas need more, long-term intensive efforts.”

The program stressed three main messages: that drinking is unacceptable in school, at home, and in the community. The project was student-led in schools, family oriented at home, and spearheaded by neighborhood volunteers at the community level. But project leaders had difficulty getting urban community leaders engaged on the issue of youth alcohol use.

“People in these areas are concerned with housing, they’re concerned with gangs and other drug use,” Komro said. “There was a whole upfront effort where we had to educate people about how alcohol was related to those other issues, and that it was an important issue to think about with their young people.”

There was at least one positive result from the Chicago study, however: after community teams visited alcohol stores and urged owners not to sell to minors, local youth reported a 64-percent decline in their ability to buy alcohol.

The study was published online in the journal Addiction.

This article summarizes an external report or press release on research published in a scientific journal. When available, links to the sources are provided above.


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