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An Evaluated Community Action Project on Alcohol
Sally Casswell, Lynnette Gilmore
This article reports outcomes of an evaluated community action program directed toward alcohol problem prevention. In a quasi-experimental design, change was monitored in six cities-two cities with an alcohol-focused community organizer and media campaign, two cities with the media campaign only and two reference cities. The community organizers worked with a local alcohol coordinating committee and other local organizations. They focused on alcohol availability (including the promotion of nonalcoholic beverages), advertising and, to a lesser extent, pricing policies. The media campaign focused on reducing the large-quantity drinking of young men, and generated considerable controversy. Before and after surveys of the general population were carried out to evaluate the outcome of the project. Support for control policies on advertising, availability and price held steady in the treatment communities but dropped in the reference communities. The perception of alcohol being essential to entertaining and as being relatively innocuous decreased significantly in the community-action cities. The project thus appears to have met its objectives in these areas, although primarily by stemming the national trend toward greater support for liberalization.