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Reducing Underage Drinking through Coalitions: Alcohol Policy Tracking Report: 1997-2000

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Abstract:

The Reducing Underage Drinking through Coalitions (RUD) initiative completed it first four-year phase (Phase I) in December 2000. Twelve U.S. agencies were funded to develop statewide coalitions to change public attitudes, institutional policies and laws regarding youth and alcohol with the goal of reducing teen drinking. This report presents the findings from the policy-tracking component of the evaluation.



Researchers collected and analyzed data on state-level alcohol legislation in the 50 states during Phase I. Analyses were designed to detect the impact of RUD coalitions on study outcomes, such as differences from 1997 to 2000 in states with RUD coalitions compared to the rest of the nation's states in numbers or types of alcohol bills introduced or enacted by state legislatures.



Overall, the evaluation concluded that the RUD project is sustainable; the Initiative's efforts to change policy were based on scientific research showing policy change to be effective at preventing underage drinking; and the flexibility of the program design allowed coalitions to tailor their approaches to unique contexts. For future project success, initiatives should provide more timely technical assistance during coalition development and program leadership should emphasize the development of productive relationships between project staff. Funding additional coalitions could continue to influence state-level policies around youth and alcohol and provide more national exposure for environmental policy strategies to reduce underage drinking.