Alcohol use in adolescents constitutes a major public health concern. Europe is the heaviest drinking region of the world. Several school-based alcohol prevention programs have been developed but it is not clear whether they are really effective. The present study was aimed at identifying the typology with the best evidence of effectiveness in European studies.


A systematic search of meta-analyses and/or randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on interventions school-based prevention programs aimed at preventing alcohol consumption or changing the attitudes to consume alcohol.


A meta-analysis published in 2011 and 12 RCTs more recently published were identified. The meta-analysis evaluated 53 RCTs but only 11.3% of them were conducted in Europe. Globally, 23 RCTs (43.4%) showed some evidence of effectiveness, and 30 RCTs (56.6%) did not find significant difference between the groups. According to the conclusions of the meta-analysis, the Unplugged program should be considered as a practice option in Europe. Among the other 12 RCTs, 42% were conducted in Europe. Globally, 7 studies (58.3%) achieved positive results, and 5 studies (41.7%) did not find significant differences or produced a mixed pattern of results. Three of the 5 European trials (60%) used the Unplugged program with positive results.


Even if further studies should be conducted to confirm these results, Unplugged appears to be the prevention project with the best evidence of effectiveness in European studies.

Keywords: Drinking, prevention, school.
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