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Fairfield CARES Community Coalition
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
In Fairfield, we have had no recent deaths or injuries due to underage drinking and substance use. However, local survey data from Fairfield’s Youth and Parent Survey Reports shows knowledge and youth perception of alcohol and marijuana consequences is quite low. When you combine that perception with the ease at which our youth can obtain alcohol from family and friends, and high parental tolerance of underage drinking, we felt an event to help educate these audiences was imperative.
How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?
- Mobilized coalition members or other stakeholders
- 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
- Brought together the prevention community and the recovery community to show that recovery is possible, and it can be meaningful and fun
Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
- Communities Talk website
- Communities Talk toolkits
- Communities Talk support staff
How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?
Our Summer Fest concert was an example of sober fun for young adults that showed them you don’t need to drink to have a good time. Many event attendees confirmed the success of the event, noting that the crowd was very well-behaved and there were no major conflicts, like fights, that can sometimes come up during large events where alcohol is served. Both Parks and Recreation Department staff and the law enforcement officer at the concert were impressed with the event’s success.
What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Lack of interest from the community
- The challenges were not unique to our Communities Talk event. Many teens still feel they will become an outcast if they associate with non-drinking peers. We are working hard to address this issue across all of our prevention efforts.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We collaborated with another non-profit, Glorious Recovery. It specializes in fun, sober events, usually for young adults. Their experience helped us secure the musical act and connect with the recovery community, ultimately ensuring the event’s success.
What are your next steps?
- Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
- 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)
- Expand on and increase knowledge of the Fairfield CARES Youth Committee’s campaign, #LifeNotWasted
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