GUIDE has used data-driven, evidenced-based strategies since 1986 to reduce and prevent the use, misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by focusing on environmental strategies to achieve community-level change. GUIDE follows SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) for all strategic planning. In addition, we utilize local, state and national data to drive our decision making and planning.
GUIDE has focused significantly on reducing underage drinking since 2000 when we saw a substantial increase in teen drinking. Early on, we adopted the evidence-based program, Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA), and mobilized a community task force that implemented a number of critical environmental strategies. In 2007, GUIDE partnered with the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, a Drug Free Communities (DFC) coalition, to further these efforts. This partnership still continues today.
In 2011, GUIDE was selected as one of 41 statewide providers to participate in the Georgia Alcohol Prevention Project (APP). Locally, GUIDE is focusing on the goal of reducing access to alcohol and binge drinking among 9-20 year olds in Gwinnett County. The Gwinnett Alcohol Prevention Project group (GAPP) is made up of volunteers who assist us in planning, implementing and evaluating strategies. These include adults representing various sectors of the community and our Youth Advisory Board. Our Youth Advisory Board, along with Gwinnett Youth Action Teams, provide a youth voice in all aspects of our project and assures that we include youth-friendly strategies. Peer-to-peer activities have been shown to make the greatest impact on changing actual behaviors.
Click on our underage drinking prevention strategies below to learn more.
Retail availability refers to alcohol being sold to anyone under 21. We address this with the following strategies: compliance checks (funded by DFC and APP), distribution of warning signs and information about checking identification to alcohol establishments, strengthening administrative penalties, advocating for mandatory handler’s permits, training for all employees who serve and/or handle alcohol and advocating for an increase in the state’s alcohol excise tax.
Social availability refers to alcohol being given to anyone under 21, which includes provision to minors by adults and the availability of unsupervised places to drink. It is an issue in Gwinnett County because recent data suggests youth are accessing alcohol in their homes and in the homes of friends. We address this with the following strategies: advocating for social host ordinances; warning signage in retail establishments; and utilizing the Parents Are the Key, Parents Who Host Lose the Most, Save Brains and other campaigns to increase awareness about the consequences of underage and binge drinking. We also create PSAs for the Motor Vehicle Network to be displayed in the Lawrenceville DMV, as well as for TVgwinnett.
In Gwinnett, youth believe that most teens drink, and adults think that most parents let their kids drink. Local data shows that neither is true. Since social norms often drive behaviors, our positive social norms campaigns aim to correct the misperceptions of these norms. GUIDE is currently working on data-driven social norms campaigns to address these concerns within Gwinnett County and the local school system.
GUIDE’s mission is to improve community conditions by utilizing collaborations, promoting positive youth development, delivering specialized training and resources and preventing substance use and abuse.