Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Effective Interventions for reducing youth alcohol consumption

Erica Schmitz recently conducted a literature review regarding court diversion programs for juvenile alcohol offenses.

There are some surprises in her findings -- some things, like group sessions, don't work. Here's what does.

Brief intervention is the only strategy solidly backed by research to reduce drinking by youth. Extensive experimental research has found the brief intervention model (a focused, 5-10 minute, one-on-one meeting using motivational interviewing and social influence strategies) to be just as or more effective than longer, more comprehensive interventions (such as longer interviews, multi-session educational programs, or multiple counseling sessions). NOTE: This does not apply to youth who require treatment for alcohol dependence.

It always comes back to that 1:1 relationship with kids. They need to know we care enough to spend that 1:1 time and make it meaningful.

She says she's happy to send a copy of her full paper to those who are interested. For a copy of the literature review, write to Erika at:
Erica Schmitz, MPP, Coordinator
MESAP: Maine's Environmental Substance Abuse Prevention Center
& Portland CMCA: Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol
Medical Care Development, Inc.

Thanks, Erica, for putting this together for us.

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