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No es usted, hasta que le sucede a usted (It’s not about you until it happens to you)
Highland School District
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
Underage drinking and substance use have recently affected our community. Our community is very rural with a population of about 1,294 habitants. In 2019, we had a death due to a drinking and driving accident. This event happened right after a graduation party. Our community planning committee saw the need to educate our parents on how to host safe parties, especially if there was not close adult supervision.
How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?
- Educated youth and parents
- Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
- 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?
- Communities Talk website
- Communities Talk planning guides
- Communities Talk toolkits
How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?
At our Communities Talk event, our substance abuse prevention coordinator, health care coordinator, and local law enforcement worked together to deliver the presentation in Spanish. We also offered translations so our English-speaking community members could participate. The event started with a video from Hermosa Beach, educating parents about substances that their students might be exposed to and what can happen if parents allow their kids to host a party without their presence.
The second part of our event discussed the repercussions teens can face when they are under the influence of substances and making bad decisions. Our local law enforcement participants educated parents about the social host ordinances in our community so they could understand consequences of letting youth drink underage in their own homes. Additionally, our substance abuse prevention coordinator presented data points about our healthy youth survey, provided by Health Care Authority. That data helped demonstrate that not everyone drinks underage and educated parents about the reality of what youth are doing and how they can educate their own kids.
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?
Our biggest challenge was a lack of awareness of not only our event, but also of our organization. We encouraged students to inform their parents and other adult community members about the upcoming event through word of mouth, and we offered free childcare during the event as an incentive for parents to attend.
What are your next steps?
- Host follow-up meetings or activities
- 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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