Drinking by the youth is associated with a range of problems. Every year, as many as five thousand youths under the age of twenty-one in the United States die due to drinking-related car crashes. Additionally, drinking at an early age is associated with an increased possibility of negative outcomes later in life such as abuse, drunk driving, unplanned pregnancy, injuries, and dependence. It is estimated that the overall cost of underage drinking in the United States reaches about 61.9 billion dollars yearly. With these statistics in mind, preventing drinking-related problems among underage persons is a fundamental priority (Windle & Zucker, 2010). Usually, programs for alcohol prevention among the youth has focused on school-based curriculums that also address other substance use and abuse behaviors.
However,school-based interventions should not be expected to offer a complete solution to the problem of youthful drinking. This is because young people are engrossed in a wide social context in which alcohol is readily available. Environmental initiatives to prevent juvenile drinking focus on modifying the environment in which drinking takes place. Particularly, alcohol policy can be a significant environmental technique. Generally defined, alcohol policy comprises of legal and regulatory mechanisms for reducing alcohol consumption and implementation of these measures. Alcohol policies can be executed at many levels including state, institutional, or national. Policies aimed at prevention should focus on harm-reduction methods in a bid to reduce reckless drinking rather than general consumption. The primary objective of alcohol policies aimed at reducing juvenile drinking is to increase the costs of purchase and alcohol use by the youth. The expenses include the struggles to obtain it, the possible legal agreements to consume it, and the charges incurred by adults for selling liquor to underage persons (Harding, et al., 2016). Regulatory policies may also reinforce norms against teenage drinking or supply alcoholic beverages to juvenile drinkers.
36 Oregon communities from public school regions were chosen for inclusion in the survey. Previously, the public high schools that served these people had agreed to conduct in-school surveys of eighth and eleventh-grade students every year. This was to be part of the Oregon health teens survey. Exempted from the eligibility of the study were three big school districts in Portland region. Communities were classified by region and the size of the population then randomly assigned within each class to the intervention program thus yielding two sets each of 18 communities. The average population size was nine thousand seven hundred and fifty.
The communities were randomly selected to condition and implementation across the 18 sites began. Three units of six intervention communities were chosen on the basis of their readiness to being as well as closeness to one another. Pre and post intervention results from eleventh-grade students were obtained from a cross-sectional Oregon healthy teen analysis conducted annually. Data from the study were used for every community, regardless of the unit. This created variation across groups in the number of pre and post-intervention periods used in the survey. Due to a significant and unexpected decrease in the number of middle schools taking part in the Oregon healthy teens study in the current year, intervention results on eighth-grade students could only be measured and evaluated using information through the previous year. As a result, the results presented here puts emphasis on the eleventh-grade student analysis data. Additionally, underage purchase analyses to evaluate retail noncompliance were conducted every year in a section of the stores in each study group.
Findings from the study suggest that interventions like reducing youth access to alcohol, when executed with high enforcement levels can be effective strategies for reducing juvenile drinking. Also, people are starting to appreciate the role of law enforcement as a significant aspect in comprehensive community-based prevention efforts to address the issue of public health and safety issues like alcohol consumption among underage persons (Bonnie, 2004).
Moreover, the resolution for breaking juvenile drinking laws does not essentially need to include severe punishments or require that violations, first offenses particularly, be placed in the criminals' permanent registers. As a matter of fact, the processes involved vary extensively across authorities. Numerous less harsh sanctions are available, as well as court deviation, trial, short-term suspension of driving licenses, and service to the community. Diversion programs may involve screening for abuse of alcohol and as a result, enable the identification and cure of juvenile persons who might remain under the system and develop to more challenging patterns and degrees of use.
Since the results of this study as regards to the intensity of enforcement were based on explanatory analyses, further research is needed to firmly ascertain that the effectiveness of the strategies to reduce and prevent drinking among underage people. In that regard, the program is to be funded by the community members and well-wishers in a bit to reduce teen drinking by ten percent in next one year. With additional planning and incentives, it is expected that this intervention will achieve the highest enforcement levels required.
Bonnie, R. (2004). Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK37617/
Flewelling, R., Kraft, A., Hanley, S., & Ruscoe, J. (2014). Reducing Youth Access to Alcohol: Findings from a Community-Based Randomized Trial. HHS Public Access, 264-277.
Harding, F., Hingson, R., Mosher, J., Brown, J., Vincent, R., & Cannon, C. (2016). Underage Drinking: A Review of Trends and Prevention Strategies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 148-157.
Healthy People.gov. (n.d.). About Healthy People. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/About-Healthy-People
Windle, M., & Zucker, R. (2010). Reducing Underage and Young Adult Drinking. Alcohol Research Current Reviews, 29-44.
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