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Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility
The University of Wisconsin prohibited alcohol sales in the university’s Kohl Center, representing a forfeiture of $500,000 in alcohol revenues every hockey season. The project worked with the Madison Alcohol License Review Committee to allow new liquor licenses in the campus area only if the establishment generates at least 50 percent of its revenue from food, effectively prohibiting large-capacity “drinking barns.”
Florida State University and the city of Tallahassee eliminated alcohol advertising on campus and developed a strategic plan to reduce the effects of high-risk drinking in the community, including suspension of driver’s licenses for underage drinking and providing incentives to owners of bars and other alcohol outlets to maintain responsible business practices.
The University of Delaware and the city of Newark are members of the Mayor’s Alcohol Commission, which has developed policy recommendations on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the community, particularly in the areas of law enforcement, land use, and zoning.
The University of Vermont and the city of Burlington led the effort to develop a responsible alcohol beverage service training for bar owners, managers, and servers, which is now part of the city’s alcohol licensing review process.
Louisiana State University (LSU), the LSU Campus-Community Coalition for Change, and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council unanimously agreed to restrict underage house parties, which members expect will reduce high-risk drinking at off-campus rental properties, which essentially operate as uncontrolled “bars” for underage students.
Reviews of campus and community coalition efforts have identified several strategies that contribute success of both on and off campus: (1) control of alcohol availability for underage youth, (2) increase in the level and consistency of policy and law enforcement and the development of new policies, and (3) attention to the irresponsible sale, promotion, and marketing of alcohol.
Just as community mobilization provides an essential context for effective interventions to reduce underage drinking, a strong and ongoing commitment on behalf of public and private funders to provide resources for community mobilization is critical to the success of the overall strategy recommended in this report.
One existing model of federal support is the Drug Free Communities Program, originally authorized by Congress in 1997 and reauthorized in 2001. This national initiative awards a maximum of $100,000 per year in federal funds directly to community anti-drug coalitions in the United States