Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Project Northland



Developer: Hazelden

Program Overview: Project Northland was developed to reduce alcohol initiation, consumption, and problem behaviors among middle school students in Minnesota.

Program Design: In the first year of the program curriculum was implemented for sixth grade students. The program included home activity sessions, newsletters for parents, group discussions, and the formation of community task forces1. The next year of the curriculum followed students into the seventh grade and used a classroom curriculum, a peer participation program for alcohol free activities, and the continuation of home activity sessions and parent newsletters. The final year of curriculum, in the eighth grade, used a classroom curriculum in combination with a theatrical performance, parent newsletters, and community task force activities.

It should be noted that Project Northland has been conducted in the US, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, and the UK. It has been adapted into Chinese, Polish, Russian, Croatian, and Spanish. The evaluation and key findings below assess the original curriculum in Minnesota middle schools only.

Evaluation: For program evaluation, 20 school districts were randomly assigned to control or intervention conditions. Students in both conditions were administered pre and post test, as well as followups for each additional year of the program. Questionnaires included items to assess:

  • alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and drug use
  • peer influences
  • self-efficacy
  • functional meanings of alcohol use
  • parent communication
  • social norms and perceptions
  • tendency towards alcohol consumption (The Tendency to Use Alcohol Scale2)

Key findings: Analysis of alcohol-related outcomes found statistically significant results for the following indicators:

  • Students in the intervention groups reported lower tendencies to consume alcohol (as measured by the Tendency to Use Alcohol Scale)
  • Intervention group students reported lower rates of past month and past week alcohol consumption
  • Students in the intervention group reported lower rates of peer influence

Program Website: www.hazelden.org


1. Williams, C. Perry, C., Dudovitz, B., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Anstine, P. (1995). A home-based prevention program for sixth grade alcohol use: Results from Project NorthlandJournal of Primary Prevention, 16(2), 125-147.

2. Williams, C. L., Toomey, T. L., McGovern, P., Wagenaar, A. C., & Perry, C. L. (1995). Development, reliability, and validity of self report alcohol-use measures with young adolescentsJournal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 4, 17-40.

3. Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Toomey, T. L., Komro, K. A., Anstine, P. S., et al. (1996). Project Northland: Outcomes of a communitywide alcohol use prevention program during early adolescenceAmerican Journal of Public Health, 86(7), 956-965.

Target Audience: Middle school (10-14 years), Parents
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Family and home environments, School clubs or community organizations, Schools
Approach: Multi-Component
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