This cluster randomised control trial is designed to evaluate whether the Communities That Care intervention (CTC) is effective in reducing the proportion of secondary school age adolescents who use alcohol before the Australian legal purchasing age of 18 years. Secondary outcomes are other substance use and antisocial behaviours. Long term economic benefits of reduced alcohol use by adolescents for the community will also be assessed.
Fourteen communities and 14 other non-contiguous communities will be matched on socioeconomic status (SES), location, and size. One of each pair will be randomly allocated to the intervention in three Australian states (Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia). A longitudinal survey will recruit grade 8 and 10 students (M = 15 years old, N = 3500) in 2017 and conduct follow-up surveys in 2019 and 2021 (M = 19 years old). Municipal youth populations will also be monitored for trends in alcohol-harms using hospital and police administrative data.
Community-led interventions that systematically and strategically implement evidence-based programs have been shown to be effective in producing population-level behaviour change, including reduced alcohol and drug use. We expect that the study will be associated with significant effects on alcohol use amongst adolescents because interventions adopted within communities will be based on evidence-based practices and target specific problems identified from surveys conducted within each community.
The trial was retrospectively registered in September, 2017 (ACTRN12616001276448), as communities were selected prior to trial registration; however, participants were recruited after registration. Findings will be disseminated in peer-review journals and community fora.