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Parent & Family Resource Night
Lee Middle School
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
Alcohol is the second most used drug by students in Manatee County, Florida. In 2017, Manatee County had more opioid overdose deaths per capita than any other county in the state. However, when community leaders came together to address the opioid issue, the focus on underage drinking waned. This lack of attention hobbled our efforts, and rates for past 30-day alcohol use went up 7.8 percent among high school students between 2016 and 2018. This rate increase illustrates a difficult lesson of what can happen when prevention efforts lapse, and serves as a reminder that prevention works.
How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?
- Educated youth and parents
- 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
Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
- Communities Talk website
- Communities Talk toolkits
How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?
Manatee County has a diverse population with cultural differences that sometimes can be hard to overcome. Keeping this in mind, Drug Free Manatee talked to parents about the dangers of social hosting. By providing parents with this information, as well as talking with students about what alcohol consumption can do to their bodies and brains, we hope to bridge the generational gap and create community cohesiveness.
What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Lack of awareness of our event or organization
How did you overcome these challenges?
To expand our event’s reach, we partnered with a local middle school that was hosting a “Parents’ University” night to create our “Parent & Family Resource Night.” Our school district is historically adverse to coalition assistance; they often veto proven best practices as a course of action in favor of fragmented prevention efforts that are delivered only with the permission of the principal at each school. Given this, we were grateful for the opportunity to work with a school administration that embraced our coalition’s prevention efforts.
What are your next steps?
- Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
- 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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