Best Practices

Community Norms

Communities Taking Action

Society plays the biggest role in determining views on underage drinking. So it is important to recognize the large impact community influences play in the fight against underage drinking. Whether done with awareness programs provided through churches and schools, or merely by providing area residents with literature about underage drinking, the efforts we put into making the problem well-known will pay off by making the activity less acceptable to everyone involved. The websites listed below offer some useful guidance for making this happen.

Communities That Care (CTC)

This program offers communities a documented plan for identifying risks, developing a prevention plan, and getting community involvement.

Town Hall Meetings

The Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking put together a list of resources that any community can access to provide information that would be useful in group settings.

Weed and Seed

The Department of Justice provides federal assistance to problem communities including, but not limited to, grant money, technical assistance, and organizational aid to help the community cope with its problem.

Safe Communities

This website, run by the United States Department of Transportation, offers information on setting up programs within your community to deal with underage drinking and driving.

The program brings communities together with local businesses and healthcare providers to implement transportation safety initiatives. Involvement by all parties will ensure that the dangers of drunk driving are taken seriously in the community.

How To Use Local Regulatory and Land Use Powers To Prevent Underage Drinking

This website shows how local communities can affect the use of their land in terms of where and how alcohol may be sold, how alcohol is projected in the media, and the ease with which minors can obtain alcohol.

Social Norms Marketing

Instinctively, we tend to react to problems after they occur versus working to prevent the problems before they arise. As a result, many prevention methods have been based on reactionary tactics to solve problems.

Social Norms Marketing, on the other hand, focuses on a proactive approach in addressing the issues of underage drinking. A social norms strategy seeks to influence the environment around the individual in an attempt to change how an issue is perceived. By showing youth that alcohol usage among their peers isn’t what they perceive it to be, we can work to prevent minors from trying alcohol.

A Guide to Marketing Social Norms for Health Promotion in Schools and Communities

This guide to Social Norms Marketing provides the resources for effectively implementing this prevention strategy. From collecting data and testing messages to implementing the findings, this all-in-one manual can help change the perception of underage drinking in your community.


This Social Norms Marketing firm has implemented successful projects around the country that range from survey design to full advertising campaigns. They are currently in the first year of a social norms intervention to combat underage drinking in Aberdeen, South Dakota. They have also worked on programs dealing with impaired driving.

National Social Norms Resource Center

As the only national center devoted exclusively to the understanding of the social norms approach, they provide technical assistance for a variety of health and social issues. Their case studies show the effects of social norms in regards to underage drinking in a number of colleges, universities, and high schools.

Media Literacy

The world can be a very misleading place. By helping our children determine between fact and fiction in the things they see, we can help eliminate problems before they occur. That’s where Media Literacy comes in. Through careful critique, analysis, and evaluation, this training helps students identify when something is being promoted directly to them, whether or not the media is appealing to their emotions or their logic, and how to distinguish between positive and negative messages.