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“I Choose Sober”

Hosted by: Gogebic County Communities That Care (GCCTC)

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

For years in our county, underage drinking has been a norm. Occasions that are celebrated are usually marked with alcohol use, such as going to camp or going hunting or fishing for the first time. We have seen it normalized and also incorporated into the growth and milestones of a child’s life. This behavior has become problematic for multiple generations.

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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
  • 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
  • created a local program by youth for youth - i choose sober (contract for students which also has them asking 1 adult at home, 1 adult in school, then student to abstain from all products, earning by senior year a letter of recommendation grad cord)
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • provision of local groups to come together forn1 event
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

Many students signed their “I Choose Sober” contracts at our event that stated they wanted to remain sober and intended to do so throughout school. We also plan to reinforce the positive norms in the family dynamic and work on how to engage families and educate them about the importance of underage drinking prevention.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Particularly severe or resistant substance use issues in our community
  • some schools did not engage due to lack of funding for transportation to event.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We worked with local partners to pull things together. Afterward, we discussed how we could make improvements for the next time an event is held, such as finding a way to fund transportation for some participants.

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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)
  • support the i choose sober campaign

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