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Boys and Girls Club of the Hi-Line Parent Information Night

Hosted by: HELP Committee

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

In Montana, drinking alcohol is a social norm—especially at ranch events such as brandings and rodeos. This results in our youth being exposed to social drinking at a very young age. It is a short distance for youth to drive to be out of city limits and into rural areas or on a reservation where there currently are no social host ordinance laws in place to deter underage drinking. We are working with officials to have an ordinance law passed that will cover our entire community.

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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
  • Educated youth and parents
  • Made making good health behavior choices fun and engaging
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Talk, They Hear You
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The youth from our coalition who shared SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign about underage drinking prevention with parents also discussed the social host ordinance within city limits in our community. They were surprised with how many parents were not familiar with the ordinance, and we are going to continue to educate the community about underage drinking prevention and the importance of having a social host ordinance.

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What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Inexperience hosting Communities Talk activities
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Because parents at our event were not familiar with SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign, we were starting from scratch in our efforts to educate them about the importance of underage drinking prevention. We hope to host this type of event again, this time targeted toward parents of youth in our coalition so they could focus on the underage drinking prevention conversations with their families.

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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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