The National Capital Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking (NCCPUD) is a 501 c(3) organization operating since 1997 dedicated to preventing and reducing underage drinking in and around Washington, D.C. NCCPUD has received eight years of funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of a national program to reduce underage drinking in 12 states. NCCPUD members include groups, organizations and persons representing communities, local government, school systems, police departments. Parents, youth and youth-serving agencies. Together they are addressing the major factors that contribute to the problem of underage drinking—easy access to alcohol, parent attitudes and behaviors and alcohol advertising.
NCCPUD’s mission is to organize, advocate, educate, and build the capacity of local public and private organizations, youth and the community to reduce underage drinking and related harms.
NCCPUD’s goals are to: (1) advocate for environmental policies and practices to reduce underage drinking and unhealthy outcomes related to all substance abuse; (2) build the capacity of the community to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to protect young people from the risk of alcohol and other drugs; (3) use media and communications as a education tool to change public perspectives and attitudes to lead to the reduction of underage drinking and related harms; (4) organize and support grassroots response to the consequences of substance abuse in the community; and (5) involve youth at every level within the organization to effectively achieve the mission of NCCPUD.
NCCPUD Youth Advocates represent various high schools in the District. Currently, we have trained over 400 advocates as peer leaders on the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
NCCPUD has a unique approach involving young people to deliver education and prevention messages to their peers through school- and community-wide activities responsive to the needs of their particular locations. Projects include peer-led classes and forums; youth workshops, conferences, prevention education and leadership training; awareness-raising activities and legislative work. Independent studies have shown that students in schools with an established Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter are more aware and informed about the risks. An important element in prevention theory is how risk and resiliency factors unify the description of community need and predict a framework for programming. According to the research, prevention programs must be designed to enhance resiliency and protective factors and move toward reversing or reducing known risk factors. NCCPUD applies this prevention knowledge through its implementation design and strategies. Specifically, the NCCPUD model and programming responds to the following documented risk factors:
Community-Based Risk Factors
· Lack of opportunities for youth to become involved with the community
· Easy availability of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
· Community attitudes, practices, policies, or laws favoring substance use and misuse
Individual-Based Risk Factors
· First use of any substance during early teen years
Peer Risk Factors
· Greater influence by and reliance on peers rather than on parents for advice and guidance
· Friends who use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
Family-Based Risk Factors
· Family history of alcoholism
· Parents involving youth in the parents’ use or misuse of ATOD; i.e., “light my cigarette”; “Get me a beer”
· Encouraging or ignoring teen use of alcohol and other drugs
· Parent/caregiver’s use/abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Concurrently, NCCPUD tailors prevention efforts to foster youth resiliency by applying the following evidence-based principles:
· Reducing the availability of alcohol and tobacco for the underaged
· Promoting skills to resist alcohol and tobacco use
· Building social competency skills
· Promoting normative education designed to correct students’ misperceptions about their peers’ alcohol/tobacco use
· Providing interactive methods, such as peer discussion groups
· Launching youth media campaigns and lobbying for policy changes
Finally, NCCPUD utilizes several of CSAP’s Prevention Strategies. The program focuses on information dissemination through, prevention education, alternatives, problem identification, community based process and environmental approach.