For reducing underage and heavy episodic drinking, action needs to be taken by authorities closest to the citizens and where alcohol consumption actually takes place – on the local level. A coordinated local alcohol strategy has proven to be the most promising approach. Municipalities have the public responsibility and power for implementing such a strategy and are the appropriate authority for this task. With “Localize It!” municipalities will be supported in developing and implementing custom-fit local alcohol strategies.
Localize It! aims at strengthening municipalities in their capacity to reduce underage and heavy episodic drinking. Coordinated and custom-fit local alcohol strategies will be developed, implemented and evaluated for two municipalities each in AT, BE, CY, CZ, DE, EL, IT, NL, LU, PT and SK. Seven different settings for alcohol prevention will be addressed including parental work, schools, children in families with alcohol problems, alcohol in public space, party scenes, festivals, gastronomy & retail, refugees and traffic safety. For each setting good practices will be researched, assessed and exchanged at a European conference. Those good practices will serve as a pool of measures for individual local action plans.
By means of a Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) an overview of the individual local situations will be provided and awareness of the problem will be raised among relevant local actors/stakeholders. Round tables will be established in the municipalities which will function as steering committees. The round tables will develop individual action plans for one of the seven settings, including at least four different measures. The development of local and European networks as well as the specific measures will be evaluated by means of a process and outcome evaluation.
For reducing underage and heavy episodic drinking, action needs to be taken by the authorities closest to the citizens and where alcohol consumption actually takes place – on the local level. A coordinated local alcohol strategy has proven to be the most promising approach. Besides, the municipalities have the public responsibility and the power for implementing such a strategy and are therefore the appropriate authority for this task.
The EU-funded project “Localize It! – Local Strategies for Reducing Underage and Heavy Epi-sodic Drinking” is supporting municipalities in developing and implementing coordinated and custom-fit local alcohol strategies. Two municipalities each in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovakia are supported by the national project partners who have extensive expertise in prevention work.
Based on the needs of the participating municipalities, four different settings for alcohol prevention are being addressed in the project, including parental work, schools, party scenes, festivals, gastronomy & retail and traffic safety. For each setting, good practices have been collected, assessed and exchanged at a European conference on13-14 March 2018 in Muenster, Germany. These good practices serve as a catalogue of measures for the individual local action plans.
By means of a Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR), partners have gained an overview of the individual local situations have raised awareness for the problem among relevant local actors/stakeholders. Round tables have been established in the municipalities which serve as a steering group for the strategy. The round tables are developing individual action plans for at least one specific setting, including at least four different – structural and individual – measures. A process and outcome evaluation assesses the development of local and European networks as well as the specific measures.
In 2019, a manual addressing European prevention experts and addiction facilities will be developed in order to raise their awareness of the problem of underage and heavy episodic drinking and summarize the options for actions and possibilities for the development of a local alcohol strategy. The manual will further provide information on the local alcohol strategy concept, approaches for initiating the process of local alcohol strategy, different settings which can be included in the strategy, experiences of European experts with local alcohol strategies and good practice examples.
Collection of good and best practices
All partners will collect existing good practice approaches for prevention measures for each of the seven settings, applying pre-defined criteria and along given research instructions. Criteria for good practices for reducing heavy episodic drinking and binge drinking of young people have been defined based on the EDDRA quality levels and the criteria list of Communities that Care (CTC). Criteria are differentiated in inclusion criteria and additional criteria. The following are inclusion criteria:
1. The objective of the programme is to reduce underage drinking and/or heavy episodic drinking.
2. The programme/project/measure addresses one or several of the defined settings (parental work (1), schools (2), children in families with alcohol problems (3), alcohol in public space (4), party scenes, festivals, gastronomy & retail (5), refugees (6), road safety (7)).
3. Target group
- The main target group is young people up to 25 years with a risky alcohol consumption (if possible, please differentiate between two age groups: 12- to 16-/18 years & 16/18- to 25 years, depending on legal regulations in your country) OR
- It can be easily transferred to the target group of young people.
4. The measure can be replicated in a different place and at a different time.
5. In the case of individual prevention measures: the measure is limited in time for individual participants, but can be offered continuously as an intervention.
6. The measure can be implemented in other countries. This implies the availability of materials, training or technical support, unless the measure can be implemented without additional cost.
7. The measure is well documented and has yielded good results.
Additional criteria are:
• Recognizable sustainability
• Qualification of staff is proven
• Targets are described with indicators
• Cost-effectiveness-relation is acceptable
• Low threshold available
• Concept/manual/curriculum is accessible / published
• Clear theory-based concept
• Difficulties are defined / described
• Multiplier approach available
• Participation recognizable
• Evidence based on:
o Expert/professional knowledge OR
o Consensus conference OR
o Description of effectiveness / Measurement of effectiveness / impact
• Methods are comprehensible
• Gender aspects are taken into account
• Migration aspects are taken into account
Existing resources like the EDDRA database will be used for the research. The collected measures will be assessed based on the additional criteria and a template will be completed for each one. The research results will be presented, discussed and complemented in a European conference. With consideration of the conference’s results a summary of good practices will be prepared which will serve as a pool of evaluated good practices from which fitting measures will be chosen in regard of the individual municipality’s or district’s needs in a specific setting.
Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR)
“Rapid Assessment and Response” (RAR) is a community-based socio-scientific approach developed by Stimson et al. (1999) on behalf of the WHO to assess complex health issues and behaviour within a short time frame. The effectiveness has been proven worldwide by various populations in many different settings. In 2008 the WHO published guidelines on RAR.
The RAR process follows three different steps: 1. Collection of existing information for seven pre-defined settings, 2. Semi-structured interviews with different key persons along key questions following a snowball system. The key questions will address recognized problems, settings and places where young people engage in heavy episodic drinking, existing options to improve the situation and existing prevention measures and their effectiveness. They will also be asked about their ideas for effective measures to reduce underage and heavy episodic drin
The kick off has taken place in Luxembourg in May 2017. Here, partners have received tools and trainings for the Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) and needs assessment.
Several deliverables have been completed and milestones have been reached in the early stage of the project, including project website, leaflet and first newsletter, a policy brief on local alcohol strategies and tools and instruments for the RAR.
The partners have initiated the cooperation with the municipalities, have conducted the Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) and have prepared local RAR reports which have been summarized by the coordinator. Partners have further set up round tables to steer the local round tables in each of the municipalities. Partners are responsible for organizing These round tables, inviting local actors to participate, present the RAR results and consult the round tables concerning suitable alcohol prevention measures.
The coordinators and partners have collected good and best practices in alcohol prevention for young people between 12 and 25 years in seven different settings: Schools, parental work, party scenes, festivals, retail and gastronomy, children from families with alcohol addiction problems, refugees and traffic safety. During a EU Expert Meeting on 13-14 March 2018 those good practices have been presented, discussed and exchanged in Muenster, Germany. A catalogue of good practices has been prepared after the Meeting and provided for all partners.
The first workshop has also taken place in March 2018 in Muenster, Germany. Here partners have discussed their results so far, their way of working with the municipalities and their plan for the further process.
Based on the RAR results and the needs of the participating municipalities, partners have agreed to focus on schools, parental work, party scenes, festivals, retail and gastronomy and traffic safety. For each of those four settings, a workshop has been organized in which partners who will focus on this particular setting in their municipalities will work together, build up a portfolio for the local action plans and receive training in selected programmes. The first setting workshop for party scenes, festivals, retail and gastronomy has taken place on 4-6 June 2018 in Coimbra, Portugal.
Partners are currently working on setting up local action plans. Some have already implemented first measures.
Partners have prepared RAR-reports from 22 municipalities - the summary of the RAR reports has been a deliverable and published in February 2018. The municipalities have mainly voiced needs in prevention measures in Schools, nightlife and retail, traffic safety and in addressing parents and raising their awareness for alcohol-related harm for their children. Therefore, besides young people themselves, parents, and nightlife/retail staff are main target groups in the project.
The EU expert Meeting has taken place in March 2018 and provided the attending experts, speakers, project partners and politicians with opportunities for local alcohol strategies and alcohol prevention measures for young people in different settings.
A summary of good practices has been prepared by the coordinator and provided for all partners as a basis to discuss possible measures with "their" municipalities.
1. Municipalities participating in the project have gained an overview of the situation concerning underage and heavy episodic drinking in their community. By means of the RAR different sources of information, relevant and engaged persons/actors in the field and possible access ways to young people consuming alcohol in a risky way at hand were brought together.
2. The exchange of good practices between existing European networks has been encouraged for the future by conducting the EU Expert meeting. One major benefit was the a side-event that brought together the project coordinators of three currently running EU-funded Projects in the Health Programme working on reducing alcohol-related harm: Localize It, STAD in Europe and FYFA.
3. On a European level, partner countries have more knowledge and experience from a major exchange of good practices. With this knowledge they can now support their national municipalities to reduce underage and heavy episodic drinking of young people on a local level.
4. Round tables are established in every participating municipality (last two were formed in Month 17) which includes relevant actors in the municipality and ensures the continuous steering of the local alcohol strategy beyond the end of the project.
The first project newsletter has been sent to European stakeholders, CNAPA members, former RARHA partners, European experts on alcohol prevention and young people, euro net members and German stakeholders.
All partners have been active in dissemination activities, published in local newspapers, presented the project in meetings of local stakeholders, included information in their social media channels, included an information section on their organization's website, given interviews (Radio and television) etc. The momentum of the EU Expert Meeting has provided a good opportunity for Dissemination activities including press releases and interviews.
Partners have also been active in dissemination on the national level, presenting intermediate results on at conferences, publishing news items in relevant journals and newspapers.