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Communities Talk: Town Hall to Stop Underage Drinking

Hosted by: The Coalition for Urban Youth and Family Development

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

While underage drinking is an ongoing concern in our community, the high rate of youth marijuana use in Detroit is also affecting us. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data that stated the marijuana use rate by 11th graders in Detroit is 22.5 percent, which is 5 percent higher than the national average. In addition, 36.6 percent of these youth are offered, sold, or given marijuana by someone on school grounds. One root cause of this phenomenon is availability. During our March 2019 Communities Talk event, we conducted a youth focus group and 15 out of 25 youth at the meeting confirmed that marijuana can be purchased and used at various abandoned and vacant properties around our community.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Lack of interest from the community
  • Lack of awareness of our event or organization
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How did you overcome these challenges?

The stipend from SAMHSA was critical in our coalition’s ability to conduct this event. We used the money for marketing, which not only raised awareness about our organization, but also increased community interest in our event. We secured a great location at a local church that serves as a hub in the community, which was central to our target audience of male and female youth and adults.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
  • Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Prevention-related webinars
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
  • Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
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How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?

  • Mobilized coalition members or other stakeholders
  • Engagement with local government leaders and business owners to consider policy changes such as social hosting laws or restaurant worker trainings
  • Educated youth and parents
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
  • Created an opportunity to share resources and practices with other community stakeholders
  • Helped plan future prevention efforts
  • Made making good health behavior choices fun and engaging
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

Our event raised awareness about local laws and dangers concerning underage drinking, gave tips and tricks to youth about how to resist peer pressure and reasons to avoid underage drinking, and also empowered youth to hold off on drinking in order to take advantage of all the opportunities ahead of them that could be missed if they engaged in underage drinking. We also learned that youth marijuana use and marijuana misuse are growing concerns in our community during our discussions about underage drinking.

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