INTRODUCTION: The Kansas State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) and SPF-SIG grants have increased the capacity to assess and prioritize needs, plan and focus attention on reducing underage drinking, and implement and evaluate prevention programs at both the State and community levels. Following the SPF model and using outcomes generated from the SEOW, 14 Kansas communities were selected to receive funding to engage in strategic planning to successfully implement evidence-based programs, policies, and practices to reduce underage drinking.
METHODS: Communities implemented a wide array of evidence –based strategies including school based programs (e.g. Too Good for Drugs, Lion’s Quest), parent programs (e.g. Strengthening Families, Guiding Good choices) and environmental programs designed to produce policy change (e.g. Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol – CMCA, keg registration, advocacy). Twenty-six different strategies were implemented with each community implementing from two to six and an average of 3.4 per community. Outcome data from the Kansas Communities That Care (KCTC) student survey were analyzed for all 14 communities. Data analyses included paired t-tests for matched pre-to-post participant prevention education data as well as comparison within and across SPF community change in alcohol consumption and percentage reduction from 2007-2012.
RESULTS: While overall participant level data did not show significant pre-to-post implementation change in alcohol use or perceived risk of harm from alcohol use, for the sub-set of youth that reported past 30-day alcohol use at baseline, there were statistically significant improvements on these measures. Compared to baseline, all 14 SPF communities showed a reduction in 30-day alcohol use after EBS implementation. The average reduction across all 14 SPF communities was 28.9% compared the average state reduction of 18.6%. In addition, school districts within the SPF communities reported decreased alcohol use at every grade level measured.
CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that intentional implementation of evidence-based programs, policies, and practices in these communities may have contributed to a sharper and quicker reduction in youth alcohol use than in communities without similar funding and EBS implementation. Additionally, results indicate the impact individual-level evidence-based prevention programs have not only in preventing but also reducing underage drinking. Strategic implementation of a comprehensive prevention plan that includes both individual and environmental strategies are important to bring out change in underage drinking outcomes.