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Safety Day

Hosted by: Village of Oregon WI Police, Oregon WI Fire/EMS District, OregonCARES

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Underage drinking is the most prevalent youth substance use issue in the Oregon, Wisconsin, community. At OregonCARES, we’ve looked at statistics from the Village of Oregon Municipal Court to gauge the local landscape. Teens who use alcohol are more likely to miss school and be cited for truancy; additionally, nearly half of all citations for operating while intoxicated (OWI) were given to drivers under the age of 30. Community leaders, including the town’s chief of police and the Village of Oregon board, are calling for better enforcement of our social host law, increased compliance checks, and more rational use of “Place of Last Drink” data.

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

  • Mobilized coalition members or other stakeholders
  • Educated youth and parents
  • Helped plan future prevention 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 social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
  • Public Service Announcements
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

Our “Safety” Day event enabled us and law enforcement to educate parents and grandparents about where youth and young adults get alcohol and other substances, as well as share steps adults can take to secure substances and prevent underage use in their homes.

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

  • Lack of awareness of our event or organization
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We’ve found that event flyers and weekly newspaper ads are not usually the best way to get information to the community. Instead, we used social media (Facebook and Twitter), and asked community groups like churches, the library, schools, and organizations (the Rotary Club, our Chamber of Commerce, etc.) to include our event information in their email newsletters and websites. We also worked with several businesses located on our main street that have programmable signs, and they graciously agreed to run information about our events on their signs. The police also highlighted our event information on their mobile sign board near a busy intersection. 

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
  • Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community

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