Effects of a Natural Community Intervention Intensifying Alcohol Law Enforcement Combined With a Restrictive Alcohol Policy on Adolescent Alcohol Use

Journal of Adolescent Health, 05/17/2012

Schelleman–Offermans K et al. – Intensified enforcement was effective in preventing adolescent drunkenness. No mediating causal pathways were detected. Effectiveness of enforcement could be increased by adopting enforcement methods with a high likelihood of apprehension, increasing social support for restrictive measures, and mobilizing the community to be more outspoken against adolescent (heavy) drinking.


  • A longitudinal (2008, 2009, and 2010) quasi-experimental comparison group design including two Dutch communities, one intervention and one comparison, was used.
  • Outcomes were assessed by following a cohort of 1,327 adolescents (aged 13–15 years at baseline).


  • The intervention resulted in increased retail inspections but only seven sanctions and no repeated sanctions in 1 year.
  • The intervention did not reduce adolescents' odds to initiate weekly drinking. Weekly drinking adolescents in the intervention community were at reduced risk to initiate drunkenness.
  • This effect was not mediated by smaller increases in the frequency of adolescents' alcohol purchases or their perceived ease of purchasing alcohol.

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