Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Project Options



Implementer: San Diego County High Schools

Partners: Funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Program Overview: Project Options is a school based program aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and drug use among teens.

Program Design: Project Option can be offered in a group, individual, or web-based format. Participating San Diego high schools offered the program in all three formats simultaneously, allowing students to choose their preferred format. The aim of the intervention, regardless of the format, was to increase knowledge relevant to decision making and to improve motivation to cease or reduce alcohol consumption and risky behaviors. Students were allowed to participate in any of the six sessions:

  1. Normative feedback
  2. Outcome expectancies
  3. Stress and coping
  4. Progression of problematic use
  5. Behavioral management
  6. Communication skills

Evaluation: The effectiveness of Project Option in three San Diego county high schools was assessed using pre and post tests. Data was collected through a school wide survey. The survey questionnaire included items to assess program participation as well as normative perceptions regarding peers frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption, and personal alcohol use (using measures from Monitoring the Future and the Customary Drinking and Drug Use Record). 

Key findings1In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, comparison were made between lifetime drinkers who participated in Project Option and those lifetime drinkers in the school who did not participate in the project. Results showed that student who participated in Project Option had statistically significant:

  • reductions in misperceptions of their peers alcohol consumption
  • decreased in self-reports of maximum and average number of drinks consumed
  • reductions in the number of reported binge drinking episodes


1. Schulte M.T., Monreal T.K., Kia-Keating M., Brown S.A. (2010). Influencing Adolescent Social Perceptions of Alcohol Use to Facilitate Change through a School-Based InterventionJournal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 19, 372-390.

Target Audience: High school (15-18 years old)
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Schools
Approach: Social Norms
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