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Pagachao Holiday Talk

Hosted by: Manelu

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

In 2019, we saw many headlines in the local media highlighting violent situations that resulted from underage drinking and substance misuse, specifically marijuana and crystal methamphetamines (meth). As a result, many communities organized town hall meetings to discuss these issues and come up with a plan to combat them. Our community decided to host the “Pagachao Holiday Talk” as a Communities Talk event to foster communication and problem-solving in our own village.

Before our event, we had the opportunity to conduct a needs assessment with local youth. They said that they typically gain access to alcohol through family members. Since the holidays can mean people spend more time with family, including extended family, we thought it was a great time to hold an event to talk to youth and their parents about underage drinking and substance misuse.

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What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Weather – the evening of our event, there was a storm warning and terrible weather that had the potential to impact attendance at the event.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

The storm was quite sudden, but since we had already lined up the venue and guest speakers, we moved forward with the event. We traveled to the community earlier than planned so we could go door-to-door to let residents know that the event was still happening, and avoided having to reschedule or cancel.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
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How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?

  • Educated youth and parents
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The event helped children have an open discussion about underage drinking and substance misuse, such as marijuana and crystal meth, with their parents. It was important to provide children with a safe space to ask questions on the substance they may be exposed to in our community at this time. They especially shared their thoughts and concerns about alcohol misuse based on how they have seen alcohol negatively impact some adults’ behaviors.

Additionally, our guest speaker, Brian Hahn from TOHGE (Transforming Ourselves through Healing Growth & Enrichment) Guam—a recovery community organization that provides peer support services for those who continue to struggle with mental health and/or substance use disorder—was able to relate to the students and shared useful resources about prevention and recovery services in the area.

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