Welcome From Frances M. Harding
View this short message in which Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center
for Substance Abuse Prevention, encourages individuals and organizations to use
website resources to host, support, or attend 2014 Town Hall Meetings to prevent
In 2010, underage drinking cost communities nationwide an estimated $62 billion.
The cost to individuals and their families in terms of injury, death, and other
consequences of underage drinking is immeasurable.
This year, thousands of organizations across the nation will be hosting Town Hall
- Educate community members about the consequences of underage drinking;
- Empower communities to make environmental changes to prevent underage drinking;
- Mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local,
state, and national levels.
Help prevent underage drinking by participating in a Town Hall Meeting. If your
organization would like to be invited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA) to host an event, e-mail your organization’s information
to email@example.com. You
can find a meeting in your area to volunteer
at as a cosponsor or speaker or to attend and add your voice to those calling for
For New Town Hall Meeting Organizers
The following training video, in English and Spanish, provides a basic introduction
on hosting a Town Hall Meeting to prevent underage drinking:
Town Hall Meeting Guidelines
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, or webinar). Regardless of approach, 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.
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. The recommended, but not required, theme of Our Town. Our
Health. Our Future. can help frame a discussion about the many problems that underage
drinking prevention can reduce.
Remember that the purpose of a Town Hall Meeting is to mobilize communities around
underage drinking prevention. Distributing brochures at a health fair, posting information
about underage drinking prevention 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
with your questions.