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Breakfast with the County Board

Hosted by: Elevate/ Prevention Network of Washington County

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

In Wisconsin, underage drinking is considered a rite of passage rather than a health risk to youth. We continuously work to educate parents and caregivers on the fact that underage drinking is a serious concern. Additionally, we are working to break down unhealthy traditions in hopes of developing healthier ones for our youth.

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How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?

  • Engagement with local government leaders and business owners to consider policy changes such as social hosting laws or restaurant worker trainings
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
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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 social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

Every year for the last six years, Prevention Network of Washington County hosts an annual Legislative Breakfast that addresses topics such as youth access to alcohol. Our event is structured to provide education to stakeholders via a roundtable discussion. This year, we shared concerns about the lack of evidence-based prevention in our schools. Through a fruitful discussion with six state lawmakers, Rep. Gundrum offered to author a bill that would require evidence-based prevention in Wisconsin schools.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Getting the right people to the table, needed additional resources to hold event
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Historically, we have good attendance at our events, but sometimes see the same people attending each year. Next time, we hope to get some fresh perspectives and ideas regarding underage drinking laws and prevention from new people that have not yet attended. Despite this attendance challenge, we did discuss future outreach plans to recruit new people.

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What are your next steps?

  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances

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