Correcting distorted beliefs about the extent to which college students both drink and abuse alcohol has proven to be a highly effective way to reduce both the consumption and the abuse of alcohol among students.

Students going off to college almost always believe that “everyone” is drinking heavily and abusing alcohol. This “reign of error” is one of the most consistently-found facts in social research. By conducting surveys of actual student use of alcohol on a campus and then widely publicizing the results, misperceptions are eliminated and students, thus liberated and empowered by the real facts, tend to drink less or not at all.

Called social norms marketing, the technique is highly effective, inexpensive, and the positive results occur quickly. Report after report has demonstrated its clear effectivenes