Drawing from his continuous focus groups testing on ways to improve the ALC, Dr. DeBenedittis released the 5th rewrite of the original curriculum in 2016.

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 better presenter fidelity. Please visit our Demonstration Page if you’d like to learn more about the ALC’s content. Or Contact Us to ask questions or purchase a curriculum license.

nrepp ALC logoBeing listed on the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices is the gold standard for Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration funded prevention programs. The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ was awarded this honor in June of 2012.

NREPP gave the ALC a 3.3 (out of 4) point rating for the Quality of Research in the studies validating it. 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.

The ALC was scored even higher on its Readiness for Dissemination, being given a 3.5 rating. The NREPP Review wrote this about the ALC’s readiness:

The implementation manual is comprehensive and user friendly. The PowerPoint lessons and corresponding talking points for implementers are clear and convey the program's message in a clever and powerful way. An initial on-site training is required for implementers; refresher Webinar trainings and videos of the developer presenting each lesson offer further support to implementers. Program fidelity checklists and numerous evaluation tools are provided to support quality assurance. The developer will help identify a local, qualified evaluator for sites that need evaluation assistance.

Read NREPP Review

Now that NREPP has begun also rating programs for their outcomes, the ALC is considered a “Legacy Program” by NREPP, and is being slated for re-review. “Given the strong outcome data showing reduced instances of drinking, lower levels of binge drinking, and reduced quantities of alcohol consumed when drinking, we’re excited for the possibility of the ALC outcomes to be showcased,” Dr. DeBenedittis said. “There’s only a handful of alcohol prevention programs currently listed on NREPP that show any reductions in drinking at all.” Once re-reviewed, the ALC will separate itself in a bigger way from programs with less significant outcomes, that many prevention programs currently use.

A 2002 paper published by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism predicted that given the strong track record of reduced drinking from students participating in bar lab experiences, classroom based alcohol expectancy challenges were worth exploring. The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ is the first program to do this.

Instances of Binge Drinking Per month by College Students who received the ALC
Key: EC (Expectancy Challenge – i.e., students receiving the ALC)
WLC (Wait List Control - i.e., Comparison group)expectancy challenge

The original high school and college level ALC lessons, were tested in scientific studies, by doctoral candidates at the University of Central Florida in 1996. Both studies found students not only decreased their positive beliefs about the effects of drinking, they also drank significantly less. The chart below shows that students who received the ALC binge drank less, while those who did not receive it, increased their binge drinking during the same time period.

Both of these studies were later replicated in 2008 at the college level, and in 2011 for high school students. Both replications showed even higher reductions in drinking. Dr. DeBenedittis attributes this to the extensive focus group testing conducted on subsequent rewrites of the ALC. “We learned a lot from these studies, and were able to make the next version of the ALC even more effective,” DeBenedittis said. “That’s why I’m so excited about the 2016 versions we just released. We’ve incorporated 4 more years of focus group testing, along with a new set of study findings, to produce even more powerful classroom interventions!”

local barUniversity of Central Florida Bar LaboratoryDr. Tom Hall, previously with the STRIKE college tobacco prevention campaign in Florida, hired Dr. DeBenedittis to present to youth tobacco prevention advocates from colleges across the state at a conference held on the Gulf Coast in 1995. Tom later went on to become the Director of Alcohol and Other Clinical Drugs for the University of Central Florida. Dr. DeBenedittis was introduced to Dr. Dunn, and the rest is history. Dr. D. began studying Alcohol Expectancy Theory and engaging expectancy researchers in the field for their technical expertise.

Peter D. spent a year 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.” Because of that chance meeting in Florida to teach students media literacy lessons for tobacco prevention, the Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ program is now the only program available to provide effective, youth alcohol prevention that can be taught in a classroom in a single 50-90 minute lesson.

alan MarlattDr. Alan MarlattIn the 1960’s Dr. Alan Marlatt (who passed away in 2011) discovered that students in a bar setting showed all the effects of drinking alcohol when served non-alcohol beer. Based on his work, universities across the world established “Bar Laboratories” to document precisely how the placebo effect causes most of the good beliefs associated with drinking. The majority of students who went through a bar lab experience, ended up drinking significantly less. And follow-up studies found these students continued drinking at reduced levels up to 10 years later, even though they received no booster sessions or other alcohol prevention interventions.

To date, nearly 1,000 studies and theoretical analyses have been published in peer-reviewed journals in the field of “Alcohol Expectancy Theory.” To learn more about alcohol expectancy theory, please take our free on-line course and earn 2 CUEs:

Take the Free Course

In the early 1990’s, researchers at the University of Central Florida, led by Dr. Michael Dunn, began exploring if the same reductions in drinking that occurred with students who participated in a bar lab experience, could be produced during a class room lesson about alcohol expectancies. In 1993 they released the first study showing that elementary school children’s beliefs, about the effects of drinking, could be shifted towards the negative by a brief lesson. The lesson compares what advertisers teach are the effects of drinking, versus what the real effects of drinking alcohol are, and allows the students to see that the true physical effects of alcohol are not so desirable.

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