What works?

One of the strengths of community action is that communities can develop their own unique and innovative approach to reducing alcohol-related harm that fits with the needs and character of their particular community.

No one approach will work for all communities. It is helpful though to get an idea of what is known to be particularly effective so that communities can draw on this expertise when making their plans.

International studies have consistently shown that certain strategies are more effective than others at reducing alcohol-related harm. Some of these strategies can only be implemented at a national level but well-planned and coordinated community action can influence all of them.

The strategies supported by the international evidence include those that:

  • reduce the consumption of alcohol by young people and discourage young people from drinking alcohol until they are adults
  • reduce the supply of alcohol to young people
  • reduce exposure of young people to the promotion of alcohol
  • reduce the hours that licensed premises can sell alcohol particularly late in the night
  • reduce the density of alcohol outlets
  • restrict alcohol promotions and marketing
  • increase opportunities for screening and brief interventions for drinking problems
  • manage the drinking environment
  • significantly increase the price of alcohol.

As you think about reducing the alcohol problems in your community it may be helpful to ask – will our planned activities result in or contribute to the achievement of one or more of these outcomes? If you can be sure that they will you are well on the way to making a difference in your community.