Success stories demonstrate the many creative ways that event hosts are engaging their communities in underage drinking prevention
and the outcomes they are achieving.
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Guara Bi, a community-based organization located in Puerto Rico, organized and conducted over 40 Communities Talk activities in various parts of the country to raise awareness of healthy behaviors for young people related to substance misuse and STDs. Although their activities and outreach efforts focused on prevention for young people, they also connected with parents and other community members through their activities.
This activity, the #IdRatherBe campaign, intended to reduce underage and dangerous drinking among teens in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, celebrating the things that youth can do rather than drink. Campaign materials included a 30-second video, social media, billboards, and posters.
The More Foundation, Inc. held an in-person event to educate their community members about the important role that healthy parent-child relationships can have on educating youth about underage drinking and substance misuse.
The African Young Dreamers Empowerment Program Intl. held a community panel discussion to raise awareness about underage drinking prevention and mental health in the African/Black American community in the Federal Way and Des Moines neighborhoods in Washington state.
Bloomsburg University’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Services group collaborated with ProjectConnect, a local nonprofit group, to create a safe space for students to generate healthy relationships and find healthy alternatives to substance misuse on campus.
The Northeastern Counseling Center partnered with IMPACT Lift to raise awareness about underage drinking and binge drinking among parents and youth at the most-attended fair in the Roosevelt, Utah, area.
This Communities Talk activity, hosted by Taylor County Drug Opposition Partnership, was a live, virtual community panel for at-risk youth. Presenters included a nurse, a high school vice principal, a health department representative, a police officer, and a local athletic director. This virtual panel event was also recorded so more students could watch it even if they were not in attendance that day.
Florida Atlantic University hosted a webinar on underage drinking for its Communities Talk activity, discussing alcohol’s effects on the body as well as alcohol use behaviors and risk factors.
The Drug Free Cherokee (DFC) organization encouraged local students to participate in a Snapchat drug prevention video contest. These 15-second videos focused on substance misuse, underage drinking, and the importance of prevention.
San Francisco State University’s health promotion and wellness program hosted Communities Talk activities in recognition of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. Prevention activities included a 5K walk to raise awareness about drinking and driving, Instagram Live events that debunked alcohol misconceptions, and a special on-campus game day.
The Gloversville Police Department and Glove City Coalition reached out to community members in different city wards to promote prevention and share resources to help prevent underage drinking and other substance misuse. They also administered underage drinking surveys to parents to glean information about the current landscape for youth.
King County organized a webinar for regional youth substance use prevention providers and behavior health system staff to help communities reduce the impact of impaired driving and share critical resources for alcohol and substance use prevention, especially during the holiday season.
This Communities Talk activity was a town hall meeting (held in person and virtually) to discuss substance use prevention and help youth make smarter decisions and healthier choices. It also featured the kickoff for a recognition campaign called Bright Spots, which highlights community members who have made a positive influence on youth in the community.
Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition hosted a “pop-up movie” for its Communities Talk activity. Before the movie, the coalition shared a video about underage drinking prevention and made other resources available to attendees after the movie concluded.
Pima County Prevention Coalition, in collaboration with several other local community organizations, invited local 6th- through 12th-grade students to a town hall-style event. The event featured workshops and helpful resources for discussing underage drinking prevention and promoting healthy decision-making.
SADD students put on a one-act play, “I Did What?,” via Zoom to showcase the peer pressures surrounding underage drinking and substance misuse, and the consequences linked to underage drinking. After the play, students had an opportunity to connect and discuss their own experiences, ask questions, and comment on underage drinking and substance misuse.
This Communities Talk activity was a virtual meeting where students, parents, and school administrators watched “Jacqui’s Story” to learn about the consequences of driving while intoxicated, especially around holidays like New Year’s Eve.
The Levittown Community Action Coalition’s two vice presidents conducted a town hall-style meeting to discuss the dangers of underage drinking and to talk with parents about the importance of having open communication with their children.
The Prevention Action Alliance held a virtual lunch to discuss underage drinking in its communities, including with other prevention partners and local parents and educators.
West Chester Communities That Care and the West Chester Area School District partnered to host an online training focused on teaching parents about the impact technology has on mental health and substance misuse.
Gateway to Prevention and Recovery organized a social media and print campaign aimed at encouraging parents to have conversations with their teens about underage drinking and drug use. They also held an online exercise, with a mock teen bedroom to help parents identify items that look harmless but could indicate their teens are using alcohol or drugs.
The College of St. Scholastica held a trivia game night focused on positive party behavior. Students shared ideas for fun activities that don’t involve drinking and learned drinking facts and statistics from a presentation and trivia questions.
Jackson State University and the Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition held a virtual underage drinking prevention activity to inform their community and youth about the harms of underage drinking and binge drinking.
Building A Safer Evansville (BASE) coalition partnered with a local restaurant to host the “Small Talks Family Meal,” an event focused on providing parents/guardians with information and resources to talk to their children about the impacts of underage drinking.
The Brevard Prevention Coalition held a community event during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Red Ribbon Week in collaboration with the National Guard to share educational resources on drugs and alcohol with the youth in their community.
Utah State University (USU) Health Extension partnered with Parents Empowered, a Utah-based organization, to host an outdoor event that provided children, teens, and their parents with an outlet to learn about underage drinking prevention in a fun and interactive way.
An Atlanta church organized a workshop on underage drinking, prevention, and support services. The church worked with its local police department and other community-based organizations to address underage drinking and substance misuse in the community.
The Fountain Hills Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition used its Communities Talk activity stipend to place a customized print ad and publish a column about preventing underage drinking, drug overdose, and other related issues in its local newspaper.
Marriott-Slaterville City held a family dinner night in collaboration with a world-recording breaking track athlete to provide parents, caregivers, and their teens with the tools and support they need to discuss and prevent underage drinking and substance misuse.
This Communities Talk activity, hosted by Siouxland CARES About Substance Abuse and Growing Community Connections, was a virtual town hall on underage drinking and mental health. There were various speakers, including a doctor from the Iowa Poison Control Center and staff from Heartland Counseling Services. There was also a Q&A at the end for parents and students to participate in.
Prevention organizations collaborated to host a webinar for youth in Laredo, Texas. The webinar featured presentations on preventing underage drinking and identifying substance misuse services. This was a great opportunity for youth and their families to get familiar with the services available to them and ask any questions.
Texas Southern University Counseling Association brought together several on-campus and community organization to host their Communities Talk activity where they discussed the effects of underage drinking, binge drinking, substance misuse, and mental health.
The Appleseed Community Mental Health Center held an event to educate Ashland High School teachers about some warning signs and symptoms when a student might be misusing opioids, alcohol, or stimulants, and to make teachers aware of mental health warnings.
Talbert House Prevention Services in Clinton and Warren counties in Wilmington, OH, held an in-person activity aimed toward young adult women and college students to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking.
New Hope Solebury Cares held a webinar to discuss underage drinking with their community members. During the webinar they discussed patterns of alcohol use, most common alcoholic beverages consumed by teens, and consumption and distribution laws in their area.
The North Valley Communities Talk event was a family game night hosted at a local elementary school where parents and their children were able to grow their bond by playing board games, having dinner, and learning the dangers of underage drinking.
This event included a virtual workshop to educate attendees on how celebrating the holidays and being in Beach Cities increases the risk of youth initiating underage drinking. Community groups came together to share the dangers of alcohol on the developing teens brain, and there was a Q&A.
The McDowell Youth Forward Coalition in North Carolina created an underage drinking video in collaboration with parents and professional videographers in their community to share with their peers the dangers of underage drinking.
The Sanilac County Prevention Network organized an in-person conference to engage parents, caregivers, educators, and teens to share information on underage drinking prevention.
The Council on Alcohol and Drugs held two youth-focused prevention events. Both events included an interactive myth vs. fact trivia game and provided parents with prevention resources.
United for Prevention in Passaic County held an in-person community event, in partnership with three local prevention organizations, to address underage drinking, substance misuse, and recovery.
Sweetwater County Prevention Coalition held a panel discussion to talk about the panelists’ shared experience with underage drinking and provide the youth community members with educational materials and an open space to ask questions.
Several departments at Tuskegee University collaborated to host weeklong Communities Talk and Red Ribbon Week events. During their event, the university provided community members with substance misuse prevention resources and played interactive games.
The Partners for Prevention Coalition held three Communities Talk events to target several audiences and discuss the various points of view regarding alcohol and substance misuse in their community.
The Geneseo Healthy Campus and Community Coalition, in partnership with local college students, held an in-person event to educate middle school and high school students on the effects of underage drinking and substance misuse.
The Safe Streets Wichita Coalition held an in-person Communities Talk event in collaboration with an annual community event to provide youth and adults with resources regarding underage drinking, alcohol misuse, and impaired driving.
The Juvenescence Affect Corporation held an in-person conference to discuss underage drinking prevention with the youth in their community.
Wadena County Public Health held an in-person underage drinking presentation to engage its local community and answer any questions youth, or their parents, may have about alcohol and substance misuse.
The Park Hill Coalition Alliance For Youth (CAFY) held two Communities Talk events in its town to bring awareness, and provide a safe space, to discuss underage drinking prevention and share helpful resources.
Hosanna Corporation, a community-based organization, worked with a local Instagram artist and hosted a prevention painting experience for youth where community members came together to bring awareness about underage drinking.
Healthy Communities of Clinton County created a mobile interactive display that traveled to local schools, youth-serving organizations, and community events to spotlight the dangers of substance misuse and alcohol use, and educate parents/guardians about how to have difficult conversations about substance misuse and alcohol use with youth.
The New Britain Local Prevention Council (NBLPC) ran a weeklong social media campaign highlighting the testimonies of youth in their community as they shared why they chose not to engage in substance use.
The Student Leadership and Involvement and the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being at Michigan Tech invited a guest speaker to talk with students about drug and alcohol misuse prevention.
The Leeward Initiative Coalition and the Great Start Collaborative held an in-person book walk event to distribute underage drinking and substance misuse prevention materials and engage participants about what kind of community event they would like to attend in the future.
The Midwest Asian Health Association worked alongside the McKinley Park Underage Drinking and Other Substance Abuse Prevention (McK-UDOS) Coalition to host a virtual activity to discuss prevention strategies with their community.
Ursinus College held an event to celebrate the strength and beauty of recovery. The college shared resources for support groups with their campus community and allowed their students to share their own stories about recovery through song and music.
The SAFE, Inc. and Long Beach coalitions held a communitywide event to discuss the dangers of underage drinking, binge drinking, and a new local law—the Safe Host Law—with adults and youth in their Long Island, NY, community.
The Aroostook County Action Program held two virtual mocktail parties for people of all ages in their community to discuss alcohol misuse and share educational materials.
Strengthening Families Building Communities partnered with the West Baltimore Drug-Free Coalition to host a virtual event with youth and parents in their community to discuss healthy coping mechanisms and provide them with an outlet to express their current stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taylor County Family Resources, along with LAUNCH (a local youth group), met with community leaders to come up with a strategy to better educate store clerks on how to properly check and read identification cards to minimize the distribution and sales of alcohol to underage youth in the community.
Tarleton State University held a hybrid event to begin a conversation around underage drinking, substance misuse, and vaping with parents, administration, and teachers in public schools in Stephenville, TX.
SAFE in NM held four virtual town hall meetings to screen the film, THE FIRST DAY, which addressed some of the most difficult issues teens face in terms of addiction, substance abuse, mental health, and other harmful behaviors.
The Program for the Development of Human Potential held an informational webinar about the dangers and risks associated with underage drinking. The webinar also provided tools for parents to identify warning signs of underage drinking.
The Boys & Girls Club of Southeast, Alabama and Ozark City Schools held an in-person event with a panel of guest speakers who shared their knowledge and experience on youth underage drinking.
The Ottawa County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition created a virtual room simulation. The simulation allowed parents and caregivers to learn about alcohol and substance misuse in their communities and provided them with tips and resources on how to start a prevention conversation with their teens.
We held a virtual discussion with parents in DeKalb County, Georgia, to discuss the impact of underage drinking and the effects the pandemic has had on underage drinking.
Westcare Wisconsin, Inc., held a “National Night Out” event with the local police department to provide community members with information about underage drinking and alcohol misuse.
In partnership with other agencies, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (SAPC) held an in-person movie event to show the documentary, Audrie & Daisy, a real-life drama that spotlights the effects of underage drinking, social pressures, cyberbullying, and more.
For many students, college life holds plenty of new experiences—not all of them healthy. Along with FSU’s University Housing department, which handles infractions in residence halls with underage students and substance use, CHAW hosted an open forum for students on underage drinking, specifically to educate underage students on the university’s recently revised Medical Amnesty Policy. They also tackled issues such as marijuana use, binge-drinking, and alcohol-related overdoses.
At the Boys & Girls Club’s family night, held on November 13, 2019, the Keystone Club organized a table on behalf of the HELP Committee, where they distributed information to parents about the social host ordinance in Havre and fines associated with providing alcohol to underage youth. The "Talk. They Hear You." PSAs were playing on TV monitors so families could view them as they were waiting for their dinner, which helped start conversations at the Keystone Club table. There, high schoolers spoke with parents about the importance of starting the conversation with their children about expectations regarding alcohol. They even invited parents to practice by asking them questions as if they were their child. They also helped parents download the "Talk. They Hear You." app so they could practice speaking with their teens about alcohol. Between 175 and 200 people attended the family night, with a 60/40 split of youth to parents. Youth of all ages—not just high school students—attended.
Drug Free Cecil has hosted several Communities Talk activities, but the 2019 event was different: It was run by high school students. The Drug Free Cecil Youth Coalition led the development of a Communities Talk rally, which began with several of them giving speeches in a local college auditorium. They also debuted the six PSAs they had developed the previous fall, which tackled underage drinking, vaping, marijuana, opioid misuse, OTC drug misuse, and tobacco—and pointed viewers to resources within the website for the Cecil County Opioid Misuse Prevention Coalition. More than 200 people—including children, teens, adults, state representatives, and county government officials—participated in the youth rally. Afterward, DFCYC held a health fair in the Cecil College parking lot with health and wellness vendors and organizations including the Cecil County Health Department, Cecil County D.A.R.E., Upper Bay Counseling, Recovery Center of America, NorthBay Adventure Camp, and Cecil County Public Schools.
To show students that it’s possible to have a good time at a football tailgate without drinking alcohol, Youngstown Campus Recreation hosted their own sober tailgate. It attracted students from many backgrounds and gave them the opportunity to enjoy themselves in a social setting without the pressure of having to respond to alcohol use around them.
The Young Oak Kim Academy and the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) held a town hall meeting for parents and teachers—as well as assemblies for students during physical education classes—to educate them about the dangers of drug and alcohol use during the preteen and teen years. LACOE used an open forum with students to address the perception that drinking and driving is not a big deal and to share information that can help students stay safe.
The UAB Wellness Promotion held a town hall meeting on alcohol and alcohol prevention in college. They were able to shed light on their issues surrounding drinking and driving and binge drinking rates among students, which allowed their Student Government Association to get more involved and spark a larger conversation.
The Rockville Centre Coalition for Youth noticed a significantly higher level of underage drinking and substance use in their community than the national average. To address these increasing numbers, they sprang into action by collaborating with schools, law enforcement, and local businesses to educate their community on underage drinking prevention.
In their efforts to eliminate and reduce underage and binge drinking at Florida State University (FSU), the Health and Wellness Center hosted an open forum on campus to discuss prevention efforts with community members. Students who attended the event better understood the importance of saying “no” to underage and binge drinking and the dangers associated with it. FSU is encouraged to see that by educating more students, particularly freshmen, they can work to change social norms about underage and binge drinking on campus.
Sam Houston State University lost several students to alcohol-related incidents in the early 2000s, so the school has made efforts since then to raise awareness about substance misuse and prevent future tragedies from occurring. To educate students and community members in an engaging and interactive way, Sam Houston State University partnered with Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service to host a panel discussion about the dangers of underage drinking.
This event encouraged us to change from a traditional top-down prevention model to a bottom-up one. We found that our prevention strategies worked best when we focused on listening to our community members’ concerns rather than focusing on the goal of our agency.
Through partnering with their local school system’s PTA, Hope for Miami hosted an informative event for parents and students in their rural community. The event taught students about the consequences they could face if they drank alcohol while underage, and their parents learned the importance of adhering to social hosting laws.
Mprint Community Wellness worked diligently to engage community leaders and business owners to make strides toward change in their local policies. They also held workshops to better educate their community members on alcohol and substance misuse.
Crusada Consortia held an underage drinking prevention training for 31 universities around Puerto Rico. They discussed and shared information related to alcohol use disorder (AUD), underage drinking, and prevention tactics.
Due to the prevalence of youth marijuana use in Detroit, the Coalition for Urban Youth and Family Development realized the need for preventive action for not only substance use, but underage drinking in their community. Their Communities Talk event focused on empowering youth with the information they need to make smart choices for their future and avoid underage drinking.
The Communities Talk event held by Learn to Grow, Inc. tackled underage substance use in urban Atlanta communities. The meeting addressed underage drinking, marijuana, and electronic vaping products with an open panel discussion. Guest speakers also discussed communicating with youth and ways to get involved in substance use/misuse prevention efforts and address accessibility to substances.
Taking advantage of where students learn, play, and pray, this Kennebec County, Maine, coalition brought together representatives of social service groups to create a holistic approach to help prevent underage drinking.
For over 30 years, Gwinnett United in Drug Education, Inc. (GUIDE, Inc.), addressed substance use prevention in Georgia. This year, GUIDE invited youth and parents from 27 counties around Georgia to the Georgia Teen Institute. More than 300 participants had the opportunity to engage in underage drinking prevention activities and learn how to conduct similar events in their communities.
In Bayonne, New Jersey, a Communities Talk event conducted outreach activities to youth, parents, and caregivers to change attitudes that normalize underage drinking. Attendees heard from law enforcement, members of the recovery community, and a school assistance coordinator on a panel presentation. The event included interactive components as well.
To raise awareness of the need for underage drinking prevention efforts in Manatee County, Florida, Drug Free Manatee partnered with Lee Middle School to host a resource night for community members. The coalition brought together previously fragmented prevention efforts in the county while educating parents and students about the importance of preventing underage drinking.
The Clackamas Youth Empowerment Coalition held an afterschool prevention program for the students in the North Clackamas school district. Their event addressed access to alcohol and alcohol advertising and promotion.
Using music, conversation, and take-away materials, a mobilized coalition focused on creating a fun, sober event. Upon a review of local youth survey data, local prevention and recovery groups held a concert and used it as a backdrop to talk with parents about the perils of tolerating underage alcohol use, and to chat with youth on the dangers of alcohol and other illegal substances.
In Oregon, Wisconsin, OregonCARES hosted a Communities Talk event (“Safety” Day) with local law enforcement to change attitudes about underage drinking and educate adults about social host laws. This meeting provided an opportunity to not only educate youth, parents, and other caregivers about access to alcohol and how to reduce underage alcohol use, but also brought together stakeholders, such as business owners and government leaders, to be part of the team to address underage drinking.
Since LGBTQ youth are more likely to engage in underage drinking as marginalized members of communities, Iowa Safe Schools hosted a conference to address the lack of support and resources in Iowa schools for this population. This event gave students and parents the opportunity to connect with school administrators and educators and discuss how to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth regarding underage drinking and substance misuse prevention.
South Side High School PTA developed posters, digital graphics, and a public service announcement for their first Communities Talk event. This event was their first step toward a long-term plan to raise awareness about underage drinking in their community.
The Jefferson County Drug Free Coalition, in collaboration with their Parks and Recreational Department, held a Communities Talk event to discuss the effects of alcohol with their middle school students.
The Jackson State University Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition hosted an educational panel discussion about the dangers of alcohol at a local high school. They helped students understand and experience the consequences of driving while impaired with the help of local law enforcement and school administrators.
Singing River Services Region XIV held a panel discussion to continue the dialogue with community members on the nationally recognized alcohol use prevention programs they used to raise awareness on the issue in their region.
Healthy Dent County collaborated with other community service partners to host a Communities Talk event to raise awareness on the prevalence of underage drinking in the Dent County, Missouri, community.
The West Springfield CARE Coalition held a panel discussion featuring local experts to discuss underage drinking prevention and to share tips and resources community members can use when they are faced with difficult situations.
In Clayton County, underage drinking is seen as a rite of passage. Although community members admit to it being a problem, underage drinking prevention is not a priority. To raise awareness of the importance of lowering youth alcohol consumption rates, Substance Abuse Services for Clayton County, Inc., partnered with an existing community potluck and invited people to have an open discussion about prevention efforts.
Mohave Area Partnership Promoting Educated Decisions (MAPPED) partnered with various community stakeholders to organize their Communities Talk event. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, they had to reschedule, but they were able to shed light on the underage drinking and substance misuse issues in their community through electronic billboards and flyers.
Underage drinking in Pima County is a common issue—and even more so in the Latino community. To raise awareness around this problem, Amistades Mayahuel Prevention Consortium hosted a Communities Talk event to discuss alcohol and its effects on mental health within the Latino community.
Franklin County Schools invited community leaders, stakeholders, and 200 students from six different high schools in the area to discuss the overall effects of alcohol and substance misuse.
During a period in 2019, Mclaren Bay Region-Neighborhood Resource Center’s community faced 28 overdoses in 28 days. Since then, they have made prevention a priority. Their virtual Communities Talk events brought together sectors who were working on substance misuse and provided a clear way for people to discover that many organizations, individuals, and entities are working together to push prevention efforts forward.
By engaging members of their community, Maine’s York High School is getting more people invested in prevention. The school is helping youth, families, and adults come together as partners to prevent underage drinking and substance misuse.
For years in Gogebic County, underage drinking has been a norm—youth consuming alcohol on fishing trips and other milestone activities is accepted and encouraged. To engage families and educate them about the importance of underage drinking prevention, Gogebic County Communities That Care held a Communities Talk event and encouraged students to join “I Choose Sober."
In Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium, Inc.’s community, alcohol is easily accessible for many youth—both at home and in the community. Given these challenges, their underage drinking prevention event focused on changing the attitude toward alcohol for the youth in their community through promoting knowledge of alcohol use risks and encouraging healthier choices. Their event doubled as a kick-off for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Red Ribbon Week observance in the community.
NCADD-GDA partnered with a national nonprofit organization to help host a “flip the script” program, which catered toward giving young men and women who have had criminal challenges a second chance in society. During the event, they had an open dialogue on how alcohol and substance misuse had affected them.
Renville Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drugs held a live presentation to discuss the prevalence of underage drinking and high alcohol consumption in their community.
Due to concerns that underage drinking prevention efforts were not top of mind in their community, Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services hosted an event that showcased all the resources available to community members to take action in preventing underage drinking. Although attendance was lower than anticipated due to the start of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the coalition’s event was a success and they hope to host more in the future.
Shawnee Transformation Youth Coalition held an event to continue their efforts to bring together different community sectors in substance misuse prevention. The event also highlighted the importance of checking IDs to ensure underage youth are not given access to buying alcohol or tobacco products.
After 15 teens died in 15 months due to car crashes, the community formed Tazewell Teen Initiative in 2006 to reach youth and their parents about the importance of underage drinking prevention—especially in relation to its harmful consequences. In 2019, they hosted a town hall meeting with community partners that welcomed students, family, and community stakeholders and dispelled rumors about underage drinking and e-cigarette use.
In HELP Committee’s community in Montana, youth are exposed to social drinking at a young age through community events. Because of this reality, the coalition recognized the opportunity to host an event to educate parents about social host ordinances in relation to underage drinking prevention. They plan to continue to educate their community about measures they can take in order to make their community a healthier and safer place for youth to socialize.
Wakefield youth have higher rates of alcohol use than the state of Massachusetts as a whole. The Town of Wakefield’s Wake-Up Coalition, in collaboration with community partners, hosted a discussion panel for more than 200 students, parents, and community members to discuss the realities of youth substance use, mental health, and addiction.
Prevention Network of Washington County recognizes that underage drinking is not perceived as a health risk to youth in their community. To change perspectives on the issue and break down unhealthy rite of passage traditions, they hosted a roundtable discussion with Wisconsin lawmakers to enact evidence-based underage drinking prevention legislation in schools.
SSTAR Prevention’s community has seen high rates of drug overdose deaths and experiences youth reporting high rates of depression and anxiety at increasingly younger ages. To combat these issues, SSTAR Prevention hosted an event to form better relationships with local community leaders and members and spark conversation about issues related to substance use prevention, including mental health and wellness.
Boise State saw an increase in underage drinking, binge drinking, and substance misuse. To be proactive and maintain a safe and healthy campus community, the university hosted an event with partners to provide resources for students trying to avoid drinking.
A rural community in Tieton, Washington, was devasted by a tragic incident that lead to the death of a teen last year. In response to this fatality, a high school hosted a Spanish-language Communities Talk event during which law enforcement and prevention professionals shared underage drinking laws and data with parents.
Ware Children’s Initiative is making great progress in its efforts to address underage drinking in its community and is bringing local leaders together to discuss prevention. The organization’s prevention efforts are helping to lower the average age of first-time alcohol use, keeping youth away from alcohol longer.
It’s never easy to start a difficult conversation about underage drinking. The Utah State University Extension in Tooele, Utah, felt the need to help their rural community open up about the topic and encouraged community members to join them for a free movie night and a resource fair with information about underage drinking prevention.
The Counseling Center at Pace University’s New York City campus hosted a panel discussion to share information with students about the impact of substance use and misuse on not only themselves, but also individuals around them and the community. Speakers from different campus departments, including the Children’s Aid Society and a local hospital, addressed the health impacts of substance use and misuse (including alcohol and underage drinking), giving attendees a well-rounded picture of how substance use affects the entire university community.
The Native American population in Anadarko, Oklahoma, has had to overcome many challenges—a major one being underage drinking. To support the youth in their community in making healthy decisions, Anadarko Indian Education collaborated with community partners to share underage drinking prevention education materials and engage youth in a panel discussion.
Educating college students about alcohol and substance misuse is a tough mission. Collegiate Empowerment trains facilitators to deliver an alcohol education program to students across the country to help them make better decisions related to alcohol and substance use. They used their Communities Talk stipend to support their training efforts.
In Franklin County, the rate of current 30-day usage of alcohol by high school students is nearly 30 percent. To raise awareness of the importance of underage drinking prevention, Franklin County Prevention Coalition held an event that reached nearly 4,000 people with information about the dangers associated with underage drinking and what they can do to prevent it.
Several departments at Kutztown University worked together to develop a nontraditional approach to facilitating a discussion about underage drinking. The Department held a campus event where 60 artists created live art illustrating how alcohol has impacted their lives.
Safe & Sound, Inc., invited local health officials, teens, and parents to a panel discussion on the harmful effects of underage drinking and alcohol misuse. Their panel discussion covered the dangers of binge drinking, the impacts of teen drinking on brain development, and how alcohol consumption can impact relationships.
Communities within Atlanta experience significant health disparities, which may contribute to the use of substances among youth, young adults, and adults. To mitigate these issues, parents and youth attended the Street Smart Youth Project’s substance use prevention event and learned vital information about keeping children safe and drug free.
To address student use and perceptions about alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana in the community, the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) hosted an event that provided culturally tailored substance use prevention resources to Asian and Latino youth. The CPACS event also increased public awareness of substance use issues among these populations.
After a devastating car crash involving underage drinking resulted in the death of a young man in the community, the Knox Substance Abuse Action Team highlighted the importance of prevention at their event to address substance use. They continue to plan underage drinking prevention campaigns and hope to reach a broader audience in the future.
ADAPT Lamorinda’s community has higher youth usage rates for marijuana, alcohol, and vaping than surrounding areas. To educate parents who may overlook youth substance use issues, ADAPT Lamorinda hosted an event that they hope will pave the way for future communication and prevention efforts.
Copper Corridor Coalition acknowledges the high amount of underage drinking in its community and the role parents play in providing their children with alcohol. They held their meeting to engage youth and inform them of the harmful effects of alcohol.
Residents of Humboldt and Mendocino counties are affected by a higher number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) than any other county across the state. To increase prevention efforts for substance misuse issues related to ACEs, the St. Bernard's Academy leadership class hosted a town hall meeting focused on understanding addiction to raise awareness that addiction does not discriminate; it affects everyone’s lives in some way.
Arizona Youth Partnership hosted an event for the entire senior class of Ajo High School to learn about the importance of underage drinking and substance use prevention. Through their event, they were able to address the substance use issues in their community by discussing the facts on substance misuse and offering additional resource information.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) San Ramon Valley’s community faces a variety of substance misuse issues among youth. To prevent underage drinking, marijuana use, and vaping, they collaborated with local youth to host an informative event with prevention activities that educated both youth and parents, including a display of a teen’s bedroom with signs of substance use and a panel discussion.
In October 2019, underage drinking resulted in the death of a 19-year-old in Maquoketa, Iowa. When Jackson County Prevention Coalition saw that attitudes and behaviors toward underage drinking in their community did not change, they hosted a Communities Talk event to educate parents on the importance of being proactive in talking to their youth about underage drinking prevention.
The C.L.E.A.N. Cass County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition hosted an event to continue their work in bringing together a variety of community stakeholders to work collaboratively on reducing, preventing, and addressing substance misuse and related mental health challenges for their community’s youth. Through partnerships and securing grants, they hope to continue hosting events that educate their community members on the importance of underage drinking prevention, especially in rural communities.
A community in Guam, a U.S. territory, faced safety concerns involving underage drinking and substance misuse. As a result, parents and their children discussed issues around access to alcohol through family members and in the community during their Communities Talk event, the “Pagachao Holiday Talk.”
Members of the Duplin County Substance Use Coalition had to get creative in holding their Communities Talk event due to several cancellations that were beyond their control. Ultimately, they didn’t let COVID-19 stop their underage drinking prevention efforts and held a webinar as a virtual event to reach their community.
The Urban Partnership Drug Free Community Coalition (UPDFCC) hosted a youth community town hall to have an open panel discussion about substance abuse and alcohol misuse with inner city youth, parents, and community members in Miami, Florida.
More Than an Athlete hosted an event in coordination with law enforcement, school administration, and local business owners to engage youth and young adults in underage drinking and substance misuse prevention. After hearing powerful stories from speakers who had experienced the effects of substance misuse, youth left with a positive message.
Lake County Youth Services held a community dance open to youth to provide a safe and sober environment to discuss underage drinking and its consequences.
Cre8ting Changes’ community faces high rates of substance use and gun violence. Their hands-on event featuring a simulation of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs provided insight and an educational opportunity for youth to better understand the importance of making good choices when it comes to substance use prevention.
The Center for Prevention and Counseling (the Center) partnered with local schools and leaders to inform students in Sussex County about the effects of alcohol on developing brains. As part of this engagement, the Center implemented an alcohol awareness contest. The contest allowed students to show their own understanding of prevention and illustrate their perspectives to other students and community members.
In Bakersville, North Carolina, the negative effects of underage drinking are often overlooked. To shine a light on the importance of prevention efforts, Mitchell Yancey of the Substance Abuse Task Force partnered with local organizations and schools to host a panel that showcased many different perspectives on why their community should be doing more to address underage drinking.
Drug-Free Irondequoit (D-FI): Together, Inc., created a video series on issues surrounding substance misuse in the community. By sharing each video on its own social media channels, as well as other local social media accounts, the organization was able to reach a broader audience with its message.
The Camden County Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, Inc. (CCCADA), and Cherry Hill Township Municipal Alliance hosted a Communities Talk event that brought together members of many stakeholder groups in the community, including law enforcement, the religious community, parents, and health care providers. The event aimed to address the increasing rates of underage drinking due to parents allowing children to drink in their homes. Attendees had the opportunity to learn from experts on topics such as current trends in underage drinking and drug use and why parents should not provide alcohol to their underage children.
Nicholls State University’s Health Services Department attended their local Chamber of Commerce’s annual fall festival to raise awareness of underage drinking on campus. Using informational materials and data from a university-wide survey on alcohol and drug use, the Health Services Department was able to successfully engage and educate students and parents about the campus social environment and the reality of underage alcohol use.
Located in southwestern Montana, Anaconda is a rural community with fewer than 10,000 residents. Although the town is small, underage drinking rates in Anaconda are much higher than the state’s average. According to Heidi Nielsen, project director for Anaconda Community Intervention, Inc. (ACI), recent data showed that past 30-day alcohol use rates for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in Anaconda were 110 percent, 55 percent, and 5 percent higher, respectively, than Montana’s state averages.
Communities That Care (CTC) was founded in 2003 to reduce underage drinking in the rural farming community of Reno County, Kansas. Every year, local middle and high school students voluntarily take the Kansas Communities That Care Student Survey, which tracks teen use of harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The results of the survey are used to identify high-risk factors while guiding the best research-based interventions.
Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut, hosted a Communities Talk Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking event through the school’s Outreach Club, which focuses on reducing underage drinking within the community. Although the median income of Greenwich is significantly higher than the national average, the town faces the same youth substance misuse challenges as the rest of the country.
In Windsor, CO, youth perceive underage drinking to be more prevalent than it actually is. Another local misperception is that alcohol is less harmful than research shows. Weld County officials, community-based organizations, and the school district are trying to set the record straight in a way that positively engages youth and their families.
To that end, Windsor RE 4 School District partnered with North Range Behavioral Health to host an on-campus Communities Talk Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking Prevention event. Called “Start the Conversation,” the event offered educators, administration, students, and their families a chance to attend a variety of prevention-related classes and learn about local initiatives at a resource fair.
Northern California's Butte County has roughly 90 public K-12 schools and is home to both Butte College and California State University, Chico. Many students who graduate from local high schools go on to attend college nearby, which has created what local officials call "the four-year rule." According to Vernon Spearman, of Butte County Department of Behavioral Health, this is when a junior or senior in high school knows a freshman in college who, in turn, has access to fellow college students who can legally buy alcohol. This, by default, gives the high school student a pipeline to alcohol—a main contributor to underage drinking.
The District of Columbia is organized into eight Wards, each with approximately 75,000 residents, and each with its own history, neighborhoods, and diverse populations. In Wards 1, 5, 7, and 8, the average age of onset for underage drinking is about 12 years old. In collaboration with the DC Department of Behavioral Health, Bridging Resources in Communities, Inc. (BRIC) leads the Ward 5 Drug-Free Coalition and runs the Ward 7 & 8 DC Prevention Center, which supports residents and educates them about alcohol and substance use.
The small, rural community of Amado, Arizona, is susceptible to risk factors that can lead to underage drinking and substance abuse. Proximity to the Mexican border and the community's vast areas of desert and mountain terrain make Amado vulnerable to drug trafficking. The town also sees high rates of poverty and unemployment due in part to low high school completion rates, a lack of job opportunities, and no public transportation.
A 2014 survey of Florida's Lee County found that 25 percent of high school students and more than 13 percent of middle school students reported using alcohol in the past 30 days. Founded in 1989 by a group of local leaders, the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida is working to reduce the prevalence of underage drinking. The coalition holds lunch-and-learn meetings, Red Ribbon Week celebrations, and prevention events throughout each year.
The University at Albany (UAlbany) is home to almost 13,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students from around the world. For more than a decade, UAlbany has experienced steady declines in student alcohol use and related problems. This trend is due in large part to the work of the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which is recognized as a national leader in the prevention of underage drinking.
Many residents, business owners, and law enforcement personnel in Chicago’s West Garfield Park have long been concerned about youth access to alcohol, because alcohol is one of the leading causes of death and violence in their community. And even though these community stakeholders report illegal alcohol sales, and the court system charges and fines the offenders, the activity continues.
In Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Hermosa Beach in California—what’s known as the Beach Cities community—underage drinking has recently become a problem that people are paying attention to. The community’s high rates of underage drinking compared to the rest of the state are attributed to environmental factors such as affluence, stress, and social norms. Another factor—the high number of alcohol-licensed retailers in the area—may be why youths don’t have difficulty accessing alcohol.
In September 2015, the Roseville City Council in California passed a Social Host Ordinance, which states that adults who allow drinking by underage guests in their home can face a fine—as much as $1,000 for a third offense. The Roseville Police Department and the Placer County Youth Commission (PCYC) both supported the ordinance, saying that it would help change social norms and provide needed education.
The 2014 Iowa Youth Survey revealed some disturbing realities about underage drinking in Emmet County:
Siouxland CARES has been hosting Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking since 2006. The volunteer-driven community coalition works to reduce alcohol and other drug abuse and related violence by all age groups, but focusing primarily on youth. The Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant that Siouxland CARES administered from 2000 to 2010 refined their goals and objectives with a focus on specific alcohol-related outcomes for their community.
Since the inception of Communities Talk: to Prevent Underage Drinking, Coalition Pathways has been an active participant in every cycle. Erie County has been working on underage drinking prevention for years, holding events for rural, urban, and suburban audiences and appealing to middle school, high school, and college students.
In Newton, NJ, the Center for Prevention and Counseling has hosted Communities Talk Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking every year since 2006. At their event on April 12, 2016, the Center celebrated 23 winners of an "Elect to be Alcohol-Free" contest for youth recognizing April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Winning entries ranged from posters to radio and video PSAs.
In 2015, students from John F. Kennedy Middle School, Enfield High School, and Enrico Fermi High School in Connecticut took an anonymous survey that addressed alcohol and other substances. It covered topics such as binge drinking and driving under the influence, marijuana, heroin, prescription drugs, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes.
When members of the Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change (JM4C) Coalition reviewed the local school district’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey data and a parent survey, they learned that parents needed and wanted guidance on communicating with their children about substance misuse. Brainstorming soon got underway for their next Communities Talk Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking event.
Local focus groups in Chickasaw County, Iowa, indicate that youth start drinking between 7th and 10th grade. “The Let’s Get To Work: Our County. Our Health. Our Future” event was designed to educate all segments of the community—primarily parents and students—about underage drinking and its consequences.