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CLEAN Community Event
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
The C.L.E.A.N. Cass County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition brings together a variety of community stakeholders, professionals, students, and town leaders to work collaboratively on reducing, preventing, and addressing substance misuse and related mental health challenges in our community primarily amongst youth. We recognize that our community is not immune to these problems, and we are motivated to face them together.
How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?
- Mobilized coalition members or other stakeholders
- Engagement with local government leaders and business owners to consider policy changes such as social hosting laws or restaurant worker trainings
- Educated youth and parents
- Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
- Created an opportunity to share resources and practices with other community stakeholders
- Helped plan future prevention efforts
- 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?
- Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
- Communities Talk website
- Communities Talk planning guides
- Communities Talk toolkits
- Communities Talk e-Alerts
- Communities Talk support staff
How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?
At our C.L.E.A.N. meeting, we had 41 participants. We received 55 letters from youth describing their experience and what they learned after attending our meeting. All the letters are posted on our Facebook page so a larger audience can read them. Additionally, and most recently, we partnered with Drake University Pharmacy which runs a website called GenerationRX. The website provides resources and materials on preventing prescription drug misuse. Our partnerships continue to grow with the passion of the community coming together to help decrease youth substance use.
What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Needed additional resources to conduct activity
- Funding is something all coaltions can use. We were lucky to have stake holders donate to add more and create a larger event.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Continuing to sustain capacity can be a challenge. We are keeping up our work to secure grants such as the DFC grant and others which would help provide more opportunities to hold events as our community is growing (along with access to drugs and alcohol). We also see that education on social host laws can be challenging in a rural area, as some parents and caregivers feel it is safe to let their children drink if they are at home. We clearly know the harm that can cause, so we hope to address that in our work as well.
What are your next steps?
- Host follow-up meetings or activities
- Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
- Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
- Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
- Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our 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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