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Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL FAQs

What are Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking?

Can I participate in a Town Hall Meeting if I am not an event host?

How can I find a Town Hall Meeting near me?

When is the next round of SAMHSA-sponsored Town Hall Meetings?

How can my organization be invited to host a Town Hall Meeting in 2016?


REGISTRATION FAQ

Is there a deadline for registering as an event host?

Is there a specific time period in which to hold a Town Hall Meeting?

Is there a prescribed format for a Town Hall Meeting?

Can a Town Hall Meeting be a part of another activity?


GENERAL FAQs

What are Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as the lead agency for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, sponsored nationwide Town Hall Meetings in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 and is now supporting a fifth round in 2014.  Community-based organizations host the events to:

  • Educate community members about underage drinking consequences;
  • Empower communities to use evidence-based approaches, including environmental prevention, to reduce underage drinking, and
  • Mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

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Can I participate in a Town Hall Meeting if I am not an event host?

Yes, anyone can help; everyone is needed.  Local businesses can partner with host organizations by contributing goods and services.  Individuals can help by volunteering their expertise as event organizers and expert speakers or by encouraging people to attend. Find out how you can help by contacting a community-based organization hosting an event in your area.  Host organizations are listed on the searchable Find a Meeting map.

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How can I find a Town Hall Meeting near me?

Visit the Find a Meeting map, and click on your state or territory or enter your ZIP Code for a listing of meetings near you.  If no meetings appear, either expand the distance from your location or click on the state or territory to see its full list.

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When is the next round of SAMHSA-sponsored Town Hall Meetings?

SAMHSA sponsors national Town Hall Meetings every 2 years. The next round of events is scheduled for 2016.

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How can my organization be invited to host a Town Hall Meeting in 2016?

Organizations invited by SAMHSA to host a sponsored event are recommended by National Prevention Network representatives for their state or territory, by federal grantee project officers, and national organizations partnering with SAMHSA on underage drinking prevention. Please contact your NPN representative about your interest in the 2016 Town Hall Meetings.

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REGISTRATION FAQ

Is there a deadline for registering as an event host?

Organizations planning to hold Town Hall Meetings during 2015 can register their events until the end of the year. Host organizations also may use any materials on this site to help plan, promote, conduct, and evaluate their events.

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Is there a specific time period in which to hold a Town Hall Meeting?

Although events can be held any time during 2015, SAMHSA is encouraging organizers to hold their events during April, May, or June. This time period is optimal because:

  • April is Alcohol Awareness Month;
  • SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week (NPW) occurs May 17-23 (Underage Drinking & Alcohol Abuse Prevention Day is May 19); and
  • Parents need to know that (1) June and July are two of the three highest months of alcohol use initiation by children under age 18; and (2) by talking with their children now, they have the power to help their children remain alcohol free. 

Building on national observances helps build momentum around a national dialogue about prevention. Appealing to parents and other influential adults during times of higher risk of alcohol use and consequences (e.g., spring break, prom, and beach week) increases the sense of urgency in addressing these problems.

SAMHSA encourages organizations holding events in May to cross-register them on the NPW website for maximum public awareness and recognition. 

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Is there a prescribed format for a Town Hall Meeting?

No, there is no set format for an event. Events can be conducted in a physical location or via the internet and take any of several approaches (e.g., panel discussion, student presentation, roundtable, open-microphone community forum, webinar). However, SAMHSA expects Town Hall Meetings to:

  • Be open to the public;
  • Inform participants about the consequences of underage drinking and evidence-based measures to prevent it;
  • Provide for audience discussion of solutions to the problem;
  • Engage community members in pursuing prevention actions; and
  • Lead to results that can be measured and reported.

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Can a Town Hall Meeting be a part of another activity?

Yes, a Town Hall Meeting can be combined with another community event so long as underage drinking prevention is a key, related topic. For example, underage drinking prevention should be considered during any community discussion to prevent and reduce HIV/AIDS, school violence, drug abuse, or other public health problems and to promote the mental health of youth. 
Remember that the purpose of a Town Hall Hall Meeting to mobilize communities around prevention. Distributing brochures at a health fair, posting information about underage drinking on a Facebook page, or holding an alcohol-free event for small groups of students does not achieve this purpose. If you are uncertain about your event plan, contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net with your questions.

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