Tutorial: Alcohol Policy and Adolescent Drinking: Using Science in the Public Interest

Thomas Babor

This training is based on a workshop conducted at the 17th Alcohol Policy Conference on April 6, 2016 in Arlington, VA. This workshop provided training for alcohol policy advocates interested in translating scientific evidence into effective alcohol policies that are focused on underage drinking at the local and national levels. The workshop material is based on a policy advocate’s User’s Manual which demonstrates how to implement the most effective policies identified in the book, Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity (Babor et al., 2010). The publication of the User’s Manual is coming.

The issues and skills addressed by the tutorial are: a) the science base for the most effective policy options, b) key policy advocacy messages, and c) ways to minimize inertia or even opposition to evidence-based policies. Special attention was given to the implementation of policies dealing with the affordability, accessibility and attractiveness of alcohol to underage drinkers. A key advocacy skill discussed was how best to frame the policy issue from a public health perspective. Other issues included forming a community coalition to conduct a policy campaign and how best to communicate with policy makers. The workshop also helps participants to identify internet resources that show how to conduct a local situation assessment.

This tutorial should be useful to anyone interested in implementing effective alcohol policies at the local or national levels.

The development of this tutorial is funded by an NIH grant to the UConn Alcohol Research Center on the Etiology and Treatment of Alcohol Dependence, NIH/NIAAA P60-AA03510.

The presentation topics, speakers and viewing times, and their accompanying slides are posted here. You can follow the presentations sequentially or go directly to a specific presentation. For the best presentation viewing experience, check the technical requirements.


  1. Why be an Alcohol Policy Advocate? Katherine Brown, MSc, Institute of Alcohol Studies in London (18 minutes) Slides
  2. Introduction to Effective Alcohol Policy. Thomas F. Babor, Ph.D., MPH, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, UConn Health (42 minutes) Slides
  3. Key Elements of an Advocacy Campaign. David Jernigan, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Michael Sparks, MA, Sparks Initiatives (1 hour 6 minutes) Slides
  4. Post Policy Adoption: Key Elements for Implementation. Michael Sparks, MA, Sparks Initiatives (18 minutes) Slides

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