Important Topics

Environmental Strategies to Reduce Community Alcohol Problems: Planning for Community Action

Research indicates that alcohol control policies, such as raising the minimum legal drinking age to 21 and lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for driving have helped to reduce drinking and driving as well as other alcohol related problems among youth and young adults. However, hazardous drinking and related problems such as drinking and driving are still prevalent among young people.

A number of promising environmental strategies have been identified to address these problems. These include party dispersal operations, responsible beverage service training, underage decoy operations at retail establishments, and penalties for underage possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages and drinking and driving. But how can communities select the most effective approaches for their particular circumstances? How can they mount a coordinated effort to implement these strategies?

The Prevention Research Center has developed informational resources for communities to aid in this process. Using logic models, community leaders can help identify the most pressing alcohol problems among young people in their particular community, select the best approaches for each of these problems, and create an action plan to implement these strategies.

The goals of the materials are to:

  • Select strategies that are evidence based;
  • Select strategies that are responsive to the real problems in the community;
  • Ensure that the planning process is efficient and effective an moves quickly to action;
  • Maximize synergy among the selected strategies.

For a more detailed resource on reducing youth access to alcohol, click here


The logic model below shows how various factors in the community environment influence underage drinking and related problems.

The nature of the interrelationships among these community factors is shown by arrows, with the bolder arrows indicating stronger evidence-based relationships, while the thinner or dotted arrows indicate weaker relationships or relationships that may be difficult to influence.

The colored balloons show strategies that can be used to prevent underage drinking and related problems. By clicking on each balloon, you can obtain more information about the strategy.

Underage Drinking Basic Research Nuisance Party Patrols Purchase Surveys DUI Enforcement Retail Serving Practices Decoy Operations Social Host Ordinances

Because strategies that limit youth access to alcohol can be so effective, we are providing even more detail about these strategies in the following tool.
Limiting Youth Access to Alcohol