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Substance Abuse Services for Clayton County, Inc.
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
Underage alcohol use is seen as a rite of passage in Clayton County, and the adults we interviewed in our community reported drinking when they were underage. The people interviewed recognize that drinking is a problem in Clayton County, but they also believe the issue is under control and there are bigger, more important issues to address. However, results from tri-ethnic surveys completed in 2015 and 2019 saw a decrease in the community readiness score from 4.85 to 2.9 (a tool and score used to assess a community’s ability to mobilize around an issue). The survey results and what we see in the community show us that underage drinking is still an issue worth addressing.
How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?
- Engagement with local government leaders and business owners to consider policy changes such as social hosting laws or restaurant worker trainings
- Created an opportunity to share resources and practices with other community stakeholders
- 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?
- Prevention-related webinars
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
- Communities Talk toolkits
How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?
Several different sectors of the community participated and obtained new information and resources at our event. Parents learned about the overall impact of underage alcohol use as it applies to the community in general and how it could impact them and their families specifically. They also learned about the dangers of social hosting (when parents or other of-age friends, family members, and acquaintances provide alcohol to minors).
What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Lack of interest from the community
How did you overcome these challenges?
We struggled to find a date to host the event and generate interest from the community. Eventually, we partnered with an existing potluck event in the community. This was a great opportunity to partner: people were more engaged, and it provided a forum for conversation rather than a formal presentation. This allowed us to not only provide information but get more feedback and ideas from our participants.
What are your next steps?
- Host follow-up meetings or activities
- Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
- 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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