Project Northland

Project Northland A Community-Wide Program to Prevent Adolescent Alcohol UseTarget Group

Project Northland is a program for a general population of students in grades 6 through 8.


Project Northland is school-based with family and community components.

Risk & or Protective Factors Addressed

  • Use at a Young Age
  • Beliefs that most friends use and/or that alcohol and other drug use is "cool"
  • Unclear community norms, or norms that encourage use
  • Existing opportunities for community involvement
  • Lack of parent and community involvement in school related issues and events
  • Leadership and decision making opportunities for adolescents in a school environment

Outcomes Achieved in Minnesota

After three years of Project Northland activities:

  • Students in the intervention districts were significantly less likely to use both alcohol and cigarettes than students in the comparison districts
  • Students who were never drinkers at the beginning of the sixth grade, but who eventually did use, drank significantly less that students in the comparison districts. These students also smoked 37% fewer cigarettes and used 50% less marijuana by the end of the eighth grade.
  • Monthly drinking was 20% lower and weekly drinking was 30% lower among students in the program districts compared with the comparison districts.

Project Northland was also effective in changing peer influence to use alcohol, normative expectations about how many young people drink, parent-child communication about the consequences of alcohol use, and the reasons for not using alcohol. However, the project was less effective in changing perceptions of access to alcohol and actual access to alcohol.

Major Activities of the Program

Project Northland combines home-based, school-based and peer led interventions to help students develop these skills:

  • Communicating with their peers about alcohol (6th grade)
  • Dealing with peer influence and normative expectations about alcohol (7th grade)
  • Understanding methods that bring about community level changes in alcohol related programs and policies (8th grade)

Additional Information

If you want more information, contact Corporal John Ruttenberg of the Youth Services Unit of the Essex Police Department at 802-878-8331.