The APP takes an Environmental Prevention approach to prevent binge and underage drinking particularly by advocating for policies that reduce the access, availability and advertising of alcohol to minors under the age of 21. EP is a comprehensive approach to preventing problems by addressing the underlying conditions in a community that cause those problems and exploring long term solutions. Implementing an effective and sustainable environmental-prevention project requires a consistent focus on the vision for community change. In conjunction with this vision, well-planned and strategically implemented media advocacy, policy development, community organizing, enforcement and applied data strategies meld together to achieve sustainable community change.
EP focuses on community systems as opposed to individuals. It is based on the fact that individuals do not make decisions regarding their health and safety solely on the basis of personal characteristics. In reality, alcohol-related behavior and problems are influenced by a complex set of factors in the environment, such as:
- The social norms and standards of a community
- The retail and social availability of alcohol
- The formal rules and regulations associated with alcohol sales, service and use
- The degree to which these rules and regulations are effectively enforced
- Alcohol marketing including product price, placement and promotions
- Mass media messages that promote and glamorize alcohol abuse
- Community capacity to prevent alcohol-related problems
- Community engagement in preventing alcohol-related problems
Taken together, these factors determine the social acceptability of behaviors and practices and the degree to which they are considered normal.