Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

School Policies Reduce Student Drinking – If They’re Perceived to Be Enforced

Mon, 07/22/2013 - 9:16am


University of Washington professor of social work Richard Catalano and colleagues studied whether anti-alcohol policies in public and private schools were effective for eighth and ninth-graders.  What they found was that each school’s particular policy mattered less than the students’ perceived enforcement of it. So, even if a school had a suspension or expulsion policy, if students felt the school didn’t enforce it then they were more likely to drink on campus. But, even if a school’s policy was less harsh — such as requiring counseling — students were less likely to drink at school if they believed school officials would enforce it.

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