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Town Hall Meeting

Hosted by: Center for Prevention and Counseling

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

The general community of Newton, NJ, has substantial issues with underage drinking and substance misuse, specifically with methamphetamines (meth) and opioids. Last year alone, the community had several convenience stores and restaurants fail their alcohol compliance check, which likely means youth had been served alcohol in these establishments. There is also a history of parties with underage drinking, followed by drinking and driving in our rural region.

We have hosted a Communities Talk event every year since 2006 to keep underage drinking prevention efforts top of mind in our community. You can take a look at some of our work from the 2016 Communities Talk cycle by reading the Success Story we completed for that year, New Jersey Youth Ignite a Spark for Underage Drinking Prevention.

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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
  • 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 toolkits
  • Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The Center for Prevention and Counseling developed educational presentations and games for youth to illustrate the effects of alcohol on developing brains at the local boys and girls club in Sussex county. We also partnered with the Student Council at Poplar Bluff High School to encourage students to participate in the 2019 Alcohol Awareness Contest, Life is a Journey… Travel Alcohol Free. This contest allowed students to develop underage drinking prevention public service announcements (PSAs) that showed the different ways to have fun without drinking alcohol. At our Communities Talk event, we were able to highlight the top PSAs out of the 130 submissions.

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

  • None.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Fortunately, we did not experience any obstacles when planning or implementing our Communities Talk event.

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What are your next steps?

  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)

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