jump to navigation
Print    E-Mail   Share External link. Please review our Disclaimer 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Communities Talk to Prevent Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse initiative?

How much is the stipend?

When should my activity take place?

How can I support Communities Talk without registering for a stipend?

How can I find a Communities Talk activity near me?

Is there a SAMHSA prevention team member who present at our Communities Talk event?

When is the next Communities Talk planning stipend cycle?


Do I need to set up a new account, if I registered for a Communities Talk stipend in the past?

What are the password requirements?

When registering, what should I set as my username?

When registering, why is a secondary contact required?

What if I forgot my password?


Is there a registration deadline to confirm my organization's participation?

Is there a standard format for a Communities Talk activity?


Can a Communities Talk activity be combined with another event?

Are there tips on hosting a successful Communities Talk activity?


How can the stipend be used?

Can my organization receive multiple stipends?

If the stipend isn’t enough to cover the cost of planning my Communities Talk activity, what should I do?

Are Communities Talk event planning stipends federal grants, for accounting purposes?

My organization would like to host a Communities Talk activity, but planning stipends are no longer available. What are my options?


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created Communities Talk to prevent alcohol and other drug use and misuse among individuals aged 12-25 years old in communities nationwide. Since 2006, the initiative has provided prevention resources and stipends to thousands of community-based organizations, colleges, and universities.

Communities Talk activities:

  • Educate communities about the consequences of alcohol and other substance use and misuse.
  • Empower communities to use evidence-based approaches, to reduce alcohol and other substance use and misuse.
  • Mobilize communities around substance use prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

Back to Top

The stipend is $750 and must be used to plan an activity that addresses alcohol and other drug use and misuse.

Back to Top

SAMHSA encourages organizations to plan Communities Talk activities throughout the year. Many organizations incorporate their Communities Talk activities with other relevant events and observances, such as Alcohol Awareness Month in April, National Prevention Week in May, International Overdose Awareness Day in August, or Red Ribbon Week in October.

Choose an activity and date that supports your goals and community, but keep in mind that for stipends issued in 2024, your activity must take place by November 30, 2024. If you plan an activity in 2025, please wait until the next round of stipends starting in January 2025.

Back to Top

  • If your organization can host a prevention activity without a stipend, great! Please be sure to check out our customizable Communities Talk materials and planning guides on the Tips and Resources webpage.
  • SAMHSA has a new planning app that anyone can use for prevention planning, even if they are not hosting a Communities Talk activity. Check it out
  • Engage in online conversation about alcohol and other drug use and misuse by using the hashtag #CommunitiesTalk on your social media accounts.
  • And you can always support a local activity. Consider donating goods and services to a Communities Talk host or attend an event. Search for local activities and contact hosts by visiting the Find an Activity webpage.

Back to Top

Visit the Find an Activity map and click on your state or territory. You can also enter your ZIP code to view activities near you. If no activities appear, either expand the distance from your location or click on the state or territory to see its full list.

The map is updated throughout the year. Check often to get inspiration for your own activity or find organizations to connect with.

Back to Top

SAMHSA appreciates your invitation to present at your Communities Talk event; unfortunately, we do not have a subject matter expert available currently to accommodate your request. However, there are local and state prevention agencies who may have a speaker available. These include but are not limited to your State National Prevention Network,  Regional Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC), and Other Communities Talk Partners in Your Area.

Back to Top

The next Communities Talk cycle will begin in January 2025.

Back to Top

Yes. Our system is updated annually.

Back to Top

Passwords must contain at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, AND one of the following special characters: !@#$*()^~&;:=_

(NOTE: The system is case-sensitive, please be sure to check for spelling errors and avoid using unwanted spaces.)

Back to Top

Your username should be your most used email address.

(NOTE: The system is case sensitive, so please be sure to check for spelling errors and avoid using unwanted spaces.)

Back to Top

If the primary contact is unavailable or cannot be reached by e-mail, a secondary contact helps maintain communications.

Back to Top

If you forget your password, select the Forgot Password button found on the login screen (located on the Communities Talk home page). Then enter your registered email address. Next you will be prompted to answer your security question. Once you answer correctly, you can reset your password.

Back to Top

No, there is no standard format for a Communities Talk activity. You can plan in-person or virtual activities (e.g., panel discussion, student presentation, roundtable, webinar, poetry slams, health/science fairs, or live video streaming).

However, SAMHSA recommends that Communities Talk activities:

  • Be open to everyone.
  • Inform participants about the consequences of alcohol and other substance use and misuse.
  • Discuss solutions and prevention strategies with the audience.
  • Engage community members in pursuing measurable and inclusive prevention actions.
  • Lead to results that can be measured, reported, and if possible, replicated.

Back to Top

Yes, a Communities Talk activity can be combined with another community event, as long as it addresses alcohol and other drug use and misuse. For example, an activity to prevent alcohol and other substance use and misuse could be discussed along with prevention and reduction of HIV/AIDS, school and sexual violence, opioid misuse, marijuana use, e-cigarette use, mental health, or other public health problems.

Remember, the purpose of a Communities Talk activity is to mobilize communities around prevention. Distributing brochures in your community, posting information about preventing alcohol and other substance use and misuse on a Facebook page, or holding an alcohol-free event for small groups of students does not meet SAMHSA’s standard. Your activity should bring community members together (either in-person or virtually) to discuss problems, brainstorm solutions, and develop solutions and strategies.

If you have questions or concerns, contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net.

Back to Top

Organizations that have held Communities Talk activities shared the following tips and successes:

  • Utilize planning resources such as our new planning app. The app provides resources to help you plan your activity, create tasks, track progress, and collaborate with others. Access the app by logging in with any browser on your computer or phone.
  • Connect the purpose of your activity to a specific objective (e.g., policy change, campus security, knowing signs of alcohol poisoning/blackouts, social hosting, drinking and driving) rather than to alcohol and other substance use and misuse alone.
  • Before planning your activity, familiarize yourself with the Communities Talk website.
    • The Tips and Resources webpage shares ideas for prevention activities
    • The What’s New webpage is constantly updated with the latest news on alcohol and other drug use and misuse and prevention efforts.  
    • The Success Stories page shares in-depth planning details and best practices from Communities Talk hosts.     
  • If you work in a college/university environment, engage the president, student administration vice president, or student life/residential/health center staff when planning events to make sure your activity runs smoothly.
  • Plan follow-up actions and explore opportunities to keep the momentum going.
  • Share your Success Story with SAMHSA and be featured on the Communities Talk website. It’s a great way to promote your work and inspire others.

Back to Top

The stipend helps cover the costs of planning a Communities Talk activity and other prevention efforts.
Use your stipend to offset key expenses, such as:

  • Honoraria
  • Facility rentals
  • Event equipment rentals or purchases (e.g., tables, chairs, monitors, cameras, etc.)
  • Promotion/Printing (e.g., posters, flyers, billboards, postcards, printers, ink, paper, etc.)
  • Yearly subscriptions to design software and/or email marketing platforms (e.g., Canva Pro, Adobe Suites, Mailchimp, etc.)

Your stipend cannot be used for items to entice or recruit participants, such as:

  • Food and beverages
  • Door prizes
  • Giveaway items/promotional products (e.g., masks, T-shirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs, or anything not specifically related to conducting your activity)

For other ideas, please contact info@stopalcholabuse.net.

Back to Top

Limited funding allows only one stipend per organization; organizations cannot pool multiple stipends to conduct one large-scale Communities Talk activity. However, your organization can use your stipend to conduct multiple activities—for example, a series of two webinars. Affiliates of the same organization, but serving different communities, may be eligible for separate stipends.

Back to Top

If the stipend isn’t enough to cover your activity, consider partnering with local businesses and asking for donations (such as free venue space or donated time vs. paid honoraria.).  If you are transparent about how much you are able to spend, you may be surprised at what individuals and organizations are willing to offer you.

Back to Top

Planning stipends for registered host organizations are not federal grant or program funds and have no CFDA (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance , now called Assistance Listings) number. Instead, planning stipends come out of the budget for SAMHSA’s Substance Use Disorder Prevention Education Initiatives contract.

Back to Top

Your organization can still host a prevention activity without a stipend:

  • Consider partnering with local businesses and ask for small donations (financial or goods/services).
  • Partner with another Communities Talk Activity host in your area. Check out the Communities Talk Activity Map.
  • Check out our FREE customizable Communities Talk materials and planning guides on the Tips and Resources webpage.
  • Engage in online conversation about alcohol and other drug misuse by using the hashtag #CommunitiesTalk on your social media accounts.

Note: If you coordinate and activity, please submit your activity details on the Communities Talk website. Your activity will be included in the Find a Activity Map to show your commitment to substance use prevention and be inspired by other communities across the nation!

Back to Top