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Behind the Lens newsletter. State/Territory Underage Drinking Prevention Videos Project. Keeping you informed, inspired, and up to date.
In Your Words Map of the United States

CDR Josefine Haynes-Battle
Native American Center for Excellence
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

DR Josefine Haynes-Battle All the other videos produced through this contract are focused on geographic areas, specifically states and territories. What unique challenges were there in producing a video for an American Indian audience, which is spread out across the country?
The biggest challenge for us was to develop a video on underage drinking that resonates with the general American Indian audience. In other words, how to come up with one video that captures the diversity and the impact of underage drinking for 565 federally recognized tribes, as alcohol impacts various generations and regions differently. We wanted to capture the impact of alcohol across multiple generations, including the full spectrum, from the very young to the elders.

Why was it important to produce a video especially for American Indian youth?
While working as the project officer for the Native American Center for Excellence (NACE) for more than 6 years, I’ve learned that tribal communities consistently name alcohol as the #1 substance impacting the health and wellness of Indian Country. Indian Country teaches us that it is critical that we keep alcohol prevention a priority in our work, especially with American Indian youth. Teaching the children to be substance abuse free and living life to their fullest potential is a priority for American Indian families and communities.

The mission of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities, and that includes our American Indian communities. We are reminded often that it is most important to apply cultural knowledge and cultural wisdom to promote health and wellness in Indian Country and to prevent unhealthy behaviors. Following this concept and framework assisted in making this video a success.

What, for you, was the most interesting or satisfying aspect of participating in this project?
We appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with the Tribal Health—Reaching Out Involves Everyone (THRIVE) Conference; working with more than 100 different tribal youth representatives to develop and produce this prevention video. The THRIVE Conference allowed us to gather a bigger and more diverse perspective from tribal youth leaders. I appreciated the opportunity to engage the youth in this process as we wanted to truly hear their voices, too. They speak from the heart in this video, and many of their peers will be encouraged and motivated to live substance abuse free and be role models in their tribal communities. We are hopeful as an agency that the seeds that we spread will be far reaching and will have a long-lasting impact for families and communities alike. Lastly, I always enjoy the collaboration with other SAMHSA colleagues working on projects for American Indians, as leveraging of resources and coordinating efforts will definitely benefit our tribal partners. It was a pleasure for me to work with my colleague who manages SAMHSA’s Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives (UADPEI) contract, which provided the platform and funds necessary to develop this amazing video.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning to work on a video for an underserved population?
For any agency or organization, it is important to understand the culture of the population you are working with—to understand their view and the general society’s view about them. Don’t attempt to make a video for them, but rather engage them in the process from A–Z. That way the video will truly have a chance of being effective for the intended audience and in meeting the needs of the underserved population you are targeting. Another word of advice is that you allow them to teach you about the challenges and successes of prevention work in their communities.

View Critical Dialogue with Native Youth about Underage Drinking: Our Culture is Prevention.

Tips from the pros


A senior producer shares insights

A senior producer shares insights on making a video even more effective.

Trust your producer! He or she is well versed in the production process, just as you are with critical prevention issues and messages for your communities. By bringing these unique areas of expertise together, with each side trusting in the other, you and your team will be able to make a truly professional, high-quality video product that resonates with your target audience.

State/Territory Videos Project Coordinator

Overcoming Obstacles


South Dakota PSAs

Be a Team
South Dakota

Challenge: South Dakota wanted to create three public service announcements (PSAs): one highlighting youth, another focusing on parents, and a third presenting youth and parents together. The youth-focused PSA was to feature five teens representing a variety of interests: basketball, football, music, rodeo, and karate. If we were to show each of those teens in their respective environments, the shoot would have been incredibly expensive, not to mention a logistical nightmare.

Solution: The team decided to rent a studio in Sioux Falls and shoot each of the teens, dressed in their appropriate uniforms or attire, against a white, infinity background. Furthermore, the team agreed that this “look” would be ideal for the other two PSAs, as well. This approach not only greatly diminished the preproduction demands but also had the benefit of providing a consistent look across all three PSAs.

Spread the word


KS Science Fair
Teen Thinking
Here are some ways states/territories are getting the message out:

Kansas “launched” its videos in April to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Month. The state uploaded the videos to its media campaign website and promoted the links using Facebook ads. Kansas plans to continue efforts to promote the videos at the community level in the coming months.

Whats New


Several videos produced through the State/Territory Underage Drinking Prevention Videos Project last year were recently honored with awards. Congratulations to all the teams that worked on the following:
Empowering Parents to Prevent Underage Drinking in New Jersey video

  • Communicator Awards of Excellence
  • Hermes Honorable Mention

When you say NO to alcohol, what are you saying YES to? video (Maine)

  • Communicator Awards of Distinction

Puerto Rico’s "Somos Mas" campaign against underage drinking video (PSA #1)
Puerto Rico’s "Somos Mas" campaign against underage drinking video (PSA #2)

  • Communicator Awards of Distinction
  • Hermes Gold Awards
Status Check

Recently completed:

  • California
  • North Dakota
  • South Carolina

Currently in postproduction:

  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota

Currently in preproduction:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

To be scheduled:

  • American Samoa
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Hawaii
  • Marshall Islands
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Rhode Island


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