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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking initiative?

When do Communities Talk activities take place?

Can I participate if I am not planning an activity?

How can I find a Communities Talk activity near me?


What are the password requirements?

When registering, what should I set as my username?

When registering, what should I set as my username?

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 I still plan an activity during COVID-19?

Can a Communities Talk activity be a part of another event?

Are there tips on hosting a successful Communities Talk activity?


How can the planning stipend be used?

How can I obtain my stipend if receiving and/or cashing a check will be difficult due to COVID-19?

Are there other limits on planning stipends?

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


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as the lead agency for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD), sponsors the Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking initiative approximately every two years. The initiative encourages community-based organizations, colleges, and universities to plan activities to:

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

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SAMHSA encourages organizations to plan activities as part of the Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking initiative throughout the year to build momentum around a national dialogue about underage drinking prevention. Many organizations hold their Communities Talk activities in the spring to tie in with related events, such as Alcohol Awareness Month in April; high school prom; or, the start of summer vacation for students, to name a few examples.

Pick the time of year that makes the most sense for your goals and your community, but please note your Communities Talk activity must take place by December 31, 2021.

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Yes, anyone can help; everyone is needed. Local businesses can partner with planning organizations by contributing goods and services. Community-based organizations can help by planning an activity, encouraging people to attend, and providing expert speakers and community leaders. Individuals can help by volunteering their time and encouraging family and friends to attend.

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Visit the Find an Activity map and click on your state or territory, or enter your ZIP Code for a listing of 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. Check the map often to get inspiration for your own activity or see if there are organizations you want to connect with, as it’s updated throughout the year once organizations plan their work.

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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.)

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Usernames should be your most used email address.

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

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If the primary contact is unavailable or cannot be reached at his or her registered e-mail address, a secondary contact provides an alternate way to maintain communications.

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If you forget your password, select to the Forgot Password button found on the login screen (located on the Communities Talk home page). The system will ask you to provide the email address you registered with. From there the system will ask you to answer your security question. Once you have answered correctly you will be able to reset your password.

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Registration for stipends will open in January 2021. Stipends will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure to request your invitation as early as possible.

Email info@stopalcoholabuse.gov if you did not receive an invitation, and check the Communities Talk What’s New page for information on registering.

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No, there is no set format for a Communities Talk activity. Activities can be conducted in a physical location or virtually and take several approaches (e.g., panel discussion, student presentation, roundtable, webinar, poetry slams, health/science fairs, or live video streaming). However, SAMHSA expects Communities Talk activities to:

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

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Yes, you can still plan an activity and receive a stipend. While we understand that COVID-19 will impact planning and conducting prevention activities in all communities, there are many ways to mobilize your community around prevention and stay safe. Consider organizing a webinar, holding an outdoor town hall meeting, or developing a social media campaign to address underage drinking in your community.

Check the Tips and Resources page for more ideas on how you can safely plan an activity with your stipend this year. For more information and guidance about COVID-19, see SAMHSA’s official guidance to assist individuals, providers, communities, and states across the country.

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Yes, a Communities Talk activity can be combined with another community event, as long as underage drinking prevention is a key, related topic. For example, underage drinking prevention 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 underage drinking 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 action items or next steps to move toward your goals.

If you are uncertain about your activity ideas, contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net with your questions.

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Organizations that have held Communities Talk activities shared the following tips to help new organizations hold a successful activity:

  • Connect the purpose of the 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 underage drinking awareness in general.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Communities Talk website before you start planning, especially the What’s New page for the latest news and updates about Communities Talk. It also includes examples of other Communities Talk activities on the Success Stories page to share ideas and inspiration for your own activity.
  • If working in a college/university environment, involve the president, student administration vice president, or student life/residential/health center staff when planning events to make sure the Communities Talk activity runs smoothly.
  • Include a component in your plan for follow-up actions to keep the momentum going.
  • Be sure to share your Success Story to be featured on the Communities Talk website. It’s a great way to gain exposure for your work and help inspire other communities across the country.

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The planning stipend is meant to help defray the costs of planning and holding an in-person or virtual activity. Here is a list of how stipends can be used:

  • 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.)

Stipends cannot be used for:

  • 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 additional ideas on how to use your stipend, please contact info@stopalcholabuse.net.

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It is important to provide an accurate mailing address to receive the stipend. Checks should be cashed immediately upon receipt. For additional questions please contact info@stopalcholabuse.net.

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Yes. Limited funding allows only one stipend per organization—organizations cannot pool their 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. SAMHSA encourages coalitions and other community-based organizations to leverage their stipends to garner in-kind contributions of services and materials to achieve their meeting goals.

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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 the SAMHSA Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives contract.

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