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Communities Talk Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking

Hosted by: South Side High School PTA

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

There’s a general acceptance in our community that underage drinking is just part of growing up—“everybody does it.” People who grew up in the community are now parents of teens in the community, so the cycle is perpetuated if we don’t teach community members that drinking does not and should not be a rite of passage for our youth.

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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
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
  • We wanted to highlight non-users with an asset based, social norms approach to underage drinking. Our emphasis was on youth who choose to not drink and encouragement of those voices.
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk e-Alerts
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

We assembled a diverse group of community stakeholders as one step toward our long-term plan to blanket the community with messages that spread awareness about underage drinking prevention. The event and subsequent initiatives focus on prevention and the protective factors that individuals and communities can provide to teens. In the end, we created a local, actionable, and meaningful campaign of posters, digital message board displays, and a public service announcement.

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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?

We had experience hosting other events but weren’t sure if stakeholders would attend this Communities Talk event. We did a lot of networking and had one-on-one conversations to engage our stakeholders and convince them that their participation in the event was integral to its success.

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What are your next steps?

  • 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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