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Town Hall Meeting Emerging Trend and Underage Drinking

Hosted by: Tazewell Teen Initiative

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

We formed Tazewell Teen Initiative in 2006 in response to 15 teen deaths in 15 months due to car crashes. Starting that year, we began tracking the 30-day alcohol use rate for 10th and 12th graders with the goal of decreasing the rate of alcohol use in order to minimize negative consequences such as car crashes. One strategy our coalition put into place was a communications campaign to show teens that most of their peers don’t use alcohol. This campaign has reached thousands of teens and their parents with posters in schools.

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

  • Educated youth and parents
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
  • The goal was to share resources amount youth, parents and partners. Another school then held a similar event which was succesful in sharing resources in thier community.
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
  • We utilized the Communities Tak resources. We would point communities to those resources in the future.
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

We hosted a town hall meeting titled “Emerging Trends and Underage Drinking” in cooperation with the Tazewell County Youth Board, Washington Community High School, police department, and a local certified family nurse practitioner. We invited students, family, and community stakeholders. The goal of the event was to dispel rumors circulating about underage drinking and e-cigarette use, as well as discuss ways to talk to youth about substance misuse. In addition, youth board members held a Q&A panel.

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

  • N/A
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Town halls have been successful tools throughout our communities. They are a great mode of communication between schools, students, parents, and community members. Our communities have embraced them and utilize different groups within the schools to promote the town halls, such as those who sign an athletic code, Future Farmers of America, booster clubs, and others. We’ve also had success utilizing local partners and our youth board members to speak at the events.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community

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