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Hope for the Future

Hosted by: Anadarko Indian Education

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Our community has a large population of Native American youth. There are primarily seven tribes located in the vicinity, but there are nearly 37 tribes represented in the school district. This diverse population has had numerous challenges to overcome due to several historical elements prevalent in the community, such as substance misuse, lack of youth resources/facilities (YMCA & YWCA), historical traumas, parental incarceration, and high poverty rates. These elements contribute to our high underage drinking rates and show the need for more underage drinking prevention resources and events.

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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
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our 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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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Local resources including law enforcement and tribal prevention programs.
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

Our Communities Talk event targeted youth of all ages in the community through multiple approaches, including sharing resource materials and hosting a structured panel discussion. Our program worked in collaboration with several tribal partners and community coalition groups for months in preparation for the event. We were able to implement a strategy that allowed us to engage our high school students and provide resources to our elementary students.

The community involvement was tremendous. Our panel consisted of the project coordinator from the Kiowa Tribe Teen Suicide Prevention Program and officers from the local Anadarko police department and State Highway Patrol. The event took place the last day of the semester right before the holiday break. We anticipated an inattentive crowd, but they were the exact opposite. The community leaders were able to strongly connect with our students to share their different perspectives on underage drinking and substance misuse, and the importance of prevention initiatives. Many students engaged them with questions on underage drinking, opioid use, and other prescription drug misuse (which are prevalent in the community) and even joined in on group selfies!

Following the event, principals and teachers from the elementary school said their students were still utilizing their prevention resources after returning from the holiday break.

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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?

Due to a change in the school’s schedule, we were required to change the time and location of our event. We were able to overcome this hurdle by putting forth our contingency plan. We learned that contingency planning is a necessary step in event planning. 

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What are your next steps?

  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community

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