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Town Hall Meeting: Underage & Binge Drinking

Hosted by: Learn To Grow, Inc.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Substance misuse is an issue in the urban areas of Atlanta, Georgia, specifically in the 30312, 30315, and 30344 ZIP codes. Our research has shown the three most misused substances are alcohol, marijuana, and electronic vaping products.

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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
  • 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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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 e-Alerts
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The Communities Talk event had a profound impact. Our team strategically partnered with the Morehouse School of Medicine during Alcohol Awareness Month (April) to raise awareness of alcohol dangers in our community, address underage and binge drinking, and mobilize the community in a positive direction against substance use and misuse. The panel discussion was well staffed, and included Kali Robinson, Advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Thomas W. Lebert II, MD, MBA, Chief Chevalier; and Deonte Smarr, Youth Team Leader for Learn to Grow, Inc.

After our guest speakers shared their perspectives, we held an open discussion which allowed the audience to ask questions about how to communicate with youth about the dangers of alcohol and ways to get involved and reduce the onset of substance misuse and accessibility to substances. As an organization, we are grateful to be able to directly effect change in the community and to partner with credible organizations like the Morehouse School of Medicine, which has a prestigious community health department, to further assist with community-level change.

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

  • Unforeseen difficulties when planning our activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

To overcome challenges during our planning phase, our team solicited suggestions from the youth action team to help develop concepts and spark ideas to make the event engaging.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • 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
  • Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community
  • We created a recap video about our event, which is available on our LearnToGrowInc YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iEBaZvvmO8&t=

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