Cities, counties, and neighborhoods across America are confronting the problem of underage drinking and its consequences. The National Association of Governors Highway Safety Representatives (NAGHSR) is a professional organization representing the chief highway safety officers from each state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. NAGHSR is committed to prevent and reduce illegal underage alcohol consumption and to curb the terrible toll underage drinking takes on our society.
As a result of their commitment to underage drinking issues and to assist cities, counties, and neighborhoods, NAGHSR, with financial assistance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), developed a series of Community How To Guides. These Community How To Guides address fundamental components of planning and implementing a comprehensive underage drinking prevention program. The Guides are designed to be brief, easy-to-read, and easy-to-use. Each guide contains a resource section to assist readers in obtaining additional and detailed information about the topics covered in that guide. The appendices include useful tools for each topic area that provide coalitions and organizations a jump-start in their planning and implementation activities.
Topics covered in the Community How To Guides include:
In addition to the Community How To Guides, NAGHSR also developed a Case Study of a model community underage drinking prevention program. This study is designed to give other communities which are considering starting an underage drinking prevention program or those that have an existing effort, some practical, real-world ideas and suggestions. The comprehensive approach, set forth in the how to guides, has been applied in this community to great success.
The impetus for developing these guides came from the work NAGHSR has done in the area of underage drinking prevention for NHTSA and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Based on their work in the underage drinking prevention arena, NAGHSR felt the comprehensive approach, first piloted in the Washington, D.C. area, could be of benefit to any community seeking to reduce underage drinking.
Although these guides are targeted at the underage drinking issue, the basic process and information can be applied by any community-based organization striving to affect a social problem through changing community norms. These guides will also prove useful to Safe Communities, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organizations, police departments, and youth groups belonging to the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). Violence prevention organizations may also find the information and tools helpful since the process to reduce incidents of youth violence is the same process detailed in these guides.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, underage drinking is not inevitable. It is preventable. These Community How To Guides are designed to help individuals or organizations to craft programs that will help the young people in their communities remain alcohol-free.
The production of the nine Community How To Guides on underage drinking prevention involved the efforts of a number of people who helped develop the ideas and suggestions for each publication and provided the time to review the draft materials.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wishes to thank Barbara Harsha, Executive Director, National Association of Governors Highway Safety Representatives (NAGHSR) for her leadership in the development of the Community How To Guides and to Pam Beer of PMB Communications and Trina Leonard of Leonard Communications, the authors of the Guides. Special thanks to Nancy Rea, Executive Director of Drawing the Line on Underage Alcohol Use in Montgomery County, Maryland for her expertise and review.
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