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United Community Resource Council Communities Talk Underage Drinking Townhall

Hosted by: United Community Resource CouncilĀ 

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The United Community Resource Council held a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, with a focus on underage drinking. Our Prevention Coordinator from Region 11 (and the Lead Representative form Harbor House, Inc.) presented a PowerPoint highlighting information about underage drinking, the Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment (APNA), and the importance of having APNA within schools to support regional prevention.

The APNA is a survey of the behaviors and risks of 6th-, 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students. The survey is used to collect data on and promote prevention around underage drinking and other risky behaviors. The upcoming APNA survey is coming out Fall 2021. In the presentation, our Prevention Coordinator explained that the data on alcohol use and marijuana use showed an increase over the past years. He shared past data for Calhoun County Schools that showed that alcohol use and other risky behaviors are taking place in the county.

We also ordered outreach materials to distribute additional information about underage drinking. These materials consisted of Underage Drinking: Myths Versus Facts, Know the Facts About Underage Binge Drinking and the “Talk. They Hear You.” resources Find New Ways To Talk As She Gets Older, Before They Make Plans With Friends, and Choose Informal Times to Talk As She Gets Older. The information was sent out by email and postal mail, and an ad was placed in the local paper.

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

Due to the lack of participation in the APNA surveys over the previous 2 years, there is a need to educate the community and focus on risky behaviors that have existed in previous years. There are reports of alcohol use, underage drinking, and drug abuse among adults and children within the county and surrounding areas. By focusing on these behaviors, we hope that in the future these schools will participate in the APNA surveys and more community members will participate in prevention efforts.

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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Reduce prevalence of underage drinking and other substances in community
  • Create an ongoing conversation about underage drinking and substance use prevention in the community
  • Foster collaboration between community stakeholders for continued underage drinking and substance use prevention activities
  • Create new resources/materials (e.g., publications, handouts, factsheets, videos, graphics) to support prevention of underage drinking and misuse of other substances
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What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Unforeseen difficulties when planning our activity
  • Adapting to conducting a virtual activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

An unforeseen challenge was not being able to share the PowerPoint Presentation due to technical issues. We ended up giving the presentation without it, and materials were physically mailed and emailed at a later date. Another challenge was that COVID-19 continued, and no in-person activities could be planned. Mail and email were used to provide outreach information to county residents.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • 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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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
  • Communities Talk support staff
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

Our activity involved community members from the United Community Resource Council, Harbor House Regional Prevention Resource Agency, Emergency Management, Central Arkansas Development Council, CABUN Health Services, a Hampton School counselor, and the Department of Human Services. They helped with the planning and participated in the Communities Talk outreach. No in-school activities were planned due to COVID-19, but information was distributed to students. The intended audience was the entire county, especially parents, church leaders, youth, and community leaders. Through mail, email, and newspaper ads, we were able to provide outreach materials to them.

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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic did affect the planning and execution of our activities. Schools and agencies were not having or allowing in-person activities, and we were limited in what could be provided. To overcome that, we had virtual meetings, used email, and physically mailed outreach materials.

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