Alcohol Literacy Challenge™

The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) reviewed the ALC before shuttering their website. NREPP give it a 3.3 (out of 4) quality of research rating and a 3.5 readiness for dissemination rating. You can read NREPP’s original 2012 review here.

In 2017 NREPP re-reviewed the ALC and wrote “This program was rated effective for reducing alcohol use and disorders; and for improving knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about substance use.  You can read NREPP’s 2017 review finding the Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ effective here.

Not only is the ALC proven effective at reducing underage and binge drinking, it’s cost effective – taking far less time and, after the initial training, costing less per student than any other classroom youth alcohol prevention program.


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At a Glance

  • Only a single classroom sessions required
  • Backed by seven studies validating it's effectiveness
  • Continuously improved based on feedback from over 15 years of field testing
  • Now used by schools and prevention programs in 20 States

Based on 40 years of research reported in nearly 1,000 published studies, the Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ provides prevention lessons students love. Using cutting edge brain science & media literacy education about alcohol marketing and social media, the ALC is the 1st classroom-based alcohol prevention program provide to reduce underage and binge drinking in a single 50-90 minute lesson.

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“During a one-time ALC lesson, students learn about standard drinks, the range of alcohol expectancies, the difference between pharmacological effects and placebo effects, and efforts by alcohol companies to portray positive alcohol expectancies in advertisements.”

“Some of the most desired effects—the arousing, positive, and pro-social effects—are placebo effects rather than pharmacological ones. ALC aims to correct erroneous beliefs about the effects of alcohol, decreasing positive and increasing negative expectancies. These shifts in expectancies have been shown to predict lower levels of alcohol use.”

From the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs & Practices Review of the Alcohol Literacy Challenge



January 1999

Dr. DeBenedittis launches Peter D. & Company

A media literacy education firm specializing in substance abuse prevention. Over the next 5 years he writes 11 volumes of youth prevention curriculum and speaks to just under a quarter million students. His curricula became widely used across America.

Spring 2003

Researchers at the University of Central Florida release the first study

Showing that challenging alcohol expectancies (i.e. children’s beliefs about the effects of drinking) can be done in a single classroom session. Nearly 1,000 studies since the 1960s have shown that when drinking beliefs change, behavior follows and students drink less.

Summer 2005

The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ is born

Combining the latest research on how to challenge alcohol expectancies with proven media literacy education techniques. “It was like finding the Holy Grail,” Dr. D. said. “Including the brain science piece of Alcohol Expectancy Theory provided the missing link needed to take the prevention effectiveness of media literacy lessons to a whole new level.”

Spring 2006-Fall 2008

The first study controlled study is released

Showing High School students receiving the Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ drink significantly less than their peers. Two more studies are released finding the ALC is similarly effective for college students

Spring 2012

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Based Programs & Practices publishes its review.

NREPP gave the ALC a 3.3 (out of 4) point rating for the Quality of Research validating it and a 3.5 rating for its Readiness for Dissemination. Few NREPP reviews give research quality ratings above the mid twos. Have a 3.3 rating gives high confidence when we say: The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ is proven to reduce underage & binge drinking in a single session.

Summer 2016

Dr. DeBenedittis releases the 5th rewrite of the original curriculum.

Drawing from his continuous focus groups testing on ways to improve the ALC, Dr. DeBenedittis releases the 5th rewrite of the original curriculum. It features a more visually interesting style and addresses social media’s role in forming youth’s beliefs about alcohol. It also uses more movies and custom animations to convey key teaching points. The result is a more engaging experience for students with presenter better fidelity.

Spring 2017

The ALC was re-viewed to determine if the program was effective

Before SAMSHA’s National Registry for Evidence Based Programs and Practices was defunded, the ALC was re-viewed to determine if the program was effective. Though unpublished, a copy of the review was sent to Dr. DeBenedittis. In regard to its effect for reducing alcohol consumption and the problems it can cause, the review found: “This program is effective for reducing alcohol use and disorders. The review of the program yielded strong evidence of a favorable effect. Based on two studies and 11 measures, the average effect size for alcohol use and disorders is .45 (95% CI: .36, .54).”


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This blog contains research, information and educational materials about how media literacy is used for science-based prevention.



"The ALC is engaging, its efficient and effective…try it out"

"I nicknamed the program “Too smart to be fooled” because that is what it teaches 5th Graders to be…"

"A super fun curriculum which we are going to offer to 5th Graders through to 12th Grade and also show their Parents. "

Alvin Lindsay Behavior Health Department,
Fort Valley State University,
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Rachel Struebing Prevention Coordinator,
Drug Free Charlotte County,
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Amanda Hampton Family Services and Prevention
Education Programs Manager,
Madison County, Ohio
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