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Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking Town Hall
Levittown Community Action Coalition
Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.
The Levittown Community Action Coalition’s two vice presidents conducted a town hall-style meeting to discuss the dangers of underage drinking and to talk with parents about the importance of having open communication with their children. We distributed a number of materials to participants afterward, including SAMHSA’s Talk. They Hear You. 5 Conversation Goals: Talking with Teens About Alcohol and Other Drugs and LCAC brochures. We also showed SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” discussion-starter video and a locally produced video regarding our social host law.
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
Although we have seen a decline in underage drinking, alcohol is still the number-one drug of choice in our community. We hear that it is very prevalent in the community—parents have reported seeing youth drinking at sporting events, and students have reported being able to get alcohol with or without a legitimate ID. To counter this availability and access to alcohol, we are working with businesses to encourage them to provide responsible beverage service and sale training to their employees. We also developed a campaign to encourage parents to talk with their children about underage drinking and educate them about the social host law.
What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?
- 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
- Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
- Encourage community and local businesses to implement measures to prevent underage drinking (e.g., restricting or decreasing sales of alcohol at community events; conducting responsible beverage service training)
Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?
We worked with our Levittown Y.O.U.T.H. coalition, which led this event, along with other coalition members.
Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
- Communities Talk planning guides
- Communities Talk toolkits
- Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
- SAMHSA's Talk. They Hear You. campaign
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?
Yes, due to the pandemic, our in-person event only had about 35 people in attendance. Attendance would have been higher if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Particularly severe or resistant substance use issues in our community
How did you overcome these challenges?
Because alcohol is such a norm in our community, many people are reluctant to change. However, we know it is important to keep the conversation going and not ignore this issue, which is why we tried our best to heavily promote our event. Our school district was very supportive of our efforts and distributed our flyers to the parent community. We also used our funding to place ads in local papers and to boost social media posts.
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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