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Project Northland is a community- wide alcohol use prevention research trial, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health, that builds on research of the past two decades in primary prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use with young adolescents. logo

Project Northland is:

  • The largest randomized community trial that has ever been conducted for the prevention of adolescent alcohol use, involving 24 school districts and 28 adjoining communities in northeastern Minnesota.
  • The first prevention trial to systematically link and study behavioral curricula in schools, parental involvement programs, extracurricular peer leadership, and communitywide efforts for young adolescents in grades 6 - 8.

Students in the Class of 1998 from the 24 school districts were the focus of the evaluation of Project Northland. School districts and communities were randomized to intervention or reference condition in 1991. The first phase of Project Northland took place in the intervention schools and communities from 1991 to 1994. Reference schools and communities used their own programs before receiving the Project Northland programs in 1994.

After three years of Project Northland activities, when the students were at the end of 8th grade, monthly drinking was 20% lower among students in the intervention school districts compared with students in the reference districts, and weekly drinking was 30% lower. Project Northland provides strong support for primary prevention programs that systematically involve young adolescent, parents, peers and community members.

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