Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol

Program Goals

Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) is a community organizing program designed to reduce youth access to alcohol by changing community and law enforcement policies, attitudes, and practices. The program, which was initiated in 1991, aims to decrease the number of outlets that sell alcohol to youth, lessen the availability of alcohol from noncommercial sources (such as peers or adults), and reduce the community’s tolerance for underage drinking. The ultimate goal of CMCA is to prevent and reduce youth alcohol use.

Target Population and Target Sites

Although CMCA specifically targets youth in the community to prevent underage drinking, the program also targets all community members to raise awareness of underage drinking. Part of the intervention involves specific targeting of certain sites within a community, including commercial premises of on-sale (e.g., bar, restaurant) and off-sale (e.g., liquor store, convenience store) alcohol vendors. These sites are targeted to limit the availability of alcohol to underage, potential buyers.

Program Activities

CMCA employs a range of social organizing techniques addressing legal, institutional, social, and health issues to reduce youth alcohol use by eliminating illegal alcohol sales and obstructing adult provision of alcohol to youth. The organizing process includes:

  1. Assessing the community
  2. Creating a core leadership group
  3. Developing a plan of action
  4. Building a mass base of support
  5. Implementing the action plan
  6. Maintaining the organization and institutionalizing change
  7. Evaluating changes

Program Theory

CMCA draws on the social influences model based in the community that concentrates on resistance skills within youth and widespread organization to stop underage drinking in the community. The program combines the principles of this model and organized efforts with a focus on supply reduction to limit access of alcohol among underage drinkers.

Intervention ID

15 to 20

No Effects

Study 1

Youth Alcohol Use

Wagenaar and colleagues (2000) found the Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) had no significant impact on drinking behavior of 18- to 20-year-olds and 12th-grade students at either the treatment or control sites. This outcome was assessed using four different measures: past month drinking prevalence, binge drinking prevalence, number of drinks on last occasion, and past month number of drinking occasions. None of these measures showed significant program effects.

Alcohol Sales

There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups in observed behavior of on-sale and off-sale alcohol merchants in ID checking or buy rates. Additionally, there were no significant differences in alcohol merchants’ responses in the self-reported perceptions and behaviors survey between treatment and control groups.

Access to Alcohol

A significantly lower percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds provided alcohol to youth in the treatment sites compared to the control sites. However, there were no other significant differences on the self-reported measures of attempting to purchase alcohol, the last drinking occasion being in a bar, or difficulty getting alcohol from outlets. There were also no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on any access to alcohol measures for 12th-grade students.

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