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Conversation to Prevent Underage Drinking and Substance Abuse

Hosted by: Jefferson County Drug Free Coalition

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Alcohol is the most used substance among youth in Jefferson County. Cultural norms and social access contribute to underage drinking and excessive alcohol use. Data from the most recent National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows that in our area, 33 percent of high school students and 15 percent of middle school students drank alcohol in the last 30 days. And 23 percent of alcohol retailers failed to check IDs from minors when they were trying to purchase alcohol. Because of this data, our coalition felt that it was important to talk to youth and raise awareness of underage drinking.

Additionally, 80 percent of the 40 retailers surveyed placed alcohol products or ads within 3 feet or less of the floor. According to research, prominent alcohol advertising and placement in stores leads to increased sales, as well as an increase in underage drinking. Thus, having ads and products closer to eye level for youth can impact their decision-making skills about consuming alcohol.

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

  • Educated youth and parents
  • 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?

  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk support staff
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The event allowed middle school students to understand how alcohol impairs judgement, vision, and motor skills. The Parks and Recreational Department hosted the event with many partners because they saw a need to share wellness resources from across the community with middle school students. We had 200 youth attend the event.

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How did you overcome these challenges?

We did not experience many challenges with this event.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities

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