Epidemiology PhD student Spruha Joshi co-authored a chapter in the new book, “Preventing Alcohol-Related Problems: Evidence and Community-based Initiatives,” published by the American Public Health Association’s APHA Press.
Joshi, who researches how policies influence substance use in neighborhoods, said the book is geared to help lay audiences and decision-makers make sense of the research that’s behind a wide range of alcohol-related policies.
“There are a lot of ideas out there for policies that reduce harm but what does the research say?” says Joshi. “It can be difficult for individuals to even know where to begin looking. In this book, we have tried to condense the research in a way that community members, policymakers, and researchers could easily use.”
Joshi wrote the chapter along with her advisor, Associate Professor Toben Nelson.
“Spruha is one of those special students who is both smart and practical, and she is also deeply concerned about community health and making the world a better place,” says Nelson. “She recognizes the serious threat that substance abuse poses to communities. This chapter reflects her strong interest in bringing the best available science to directly help communities address their most pressing problems.”
The chapter, titled “Policy Strategies to Minimize Alcohol Harms Among Youth and Adolescents,” explores policies that are widely considered effective for reducing binge drinking and alcohol-impaired driving among youth and adolescents. Examples of such policies include minimum drinking ages and laws limiting the maximum number of alcohol outlets in a neighborhood. It also examines ideas that are promising but haven’t been studied, including social host liability laws, which place some responsibility for the actions of people consuming alcohol on the hosts who serve it to them.
“As a researcher it’s important to think about our work in a way that’s aimed at how it can be useful to non-researchers,” says Joshi.