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Teachers Talk

Hosted by: Hamtramck Drug Free Community Coalition

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

We hosted a “Teachers Talk” event in which we spoke with teachers working within Hamtramck Public Schools to discuss what trends they are seeing regarding youth drinking and substance use. We also discussed the policies that are currently in place to combat youth drinking and substance use. We held the event at a local business within our community. During the event we handed out mental health and addiction resources to the teachers. The teachers shared with us what they think could be done to combat the trends in underage drinking and substance use. This conversation was also a chance for teachers from different schools within the district to discuss with each other what they are seeing within their schools. By the end of the event, participants expressed interest in holding another meeting to continue the conversation and discussed who they would specifically contact to get representation from all middle and high schools.

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

A unique dynamic in our community that contributes to the problem of substance abuse is the immense number of vendors that sell substances such as alcohol. Because Hamtramck is a city where residents—especially schoolchildren—love to walk, our walkers encounter dozens of these establishments and their related advertisements around the community and on our local media platforms. A 2021 community scan revealed that there are 39 vendors of alcohol, 42 vendors of tobacco, and 4 vendors of recreational marijuana in 2.1 square miles. This is why it is especially important for us to host this “Teachers Talk” event.

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

  • Lack of promotion/awareness of our activity or organization
  • Change in organizational structure or staff
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We distributed flyers of the “Teachers Talk” event to every school within the district, although the flyers did not reach the teachers as we hoped. We overcame that challenge by using the connections we have with certain teachers within the school system to distribute the information. We also faced the challenge of turnover in school administration, which made it difficult to connect with teachers. We once again used connections we established previously to connect with teachers. From both of these challenges we learned that it might be best to use our existing connections to promote our events and connect with teachers. We also had some trouble finding a local business to host the event, with ample room for participants to spread out. We overcame this challenge by calling and building a relationship with local businesses. This ended up leading us to a business owner who was passionate about the subject, as someone in recovery, and could contribute to the conversation we had during our Communities Talk event.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
  • • These resources were helpful because they provided a framework for how the activity could be structured and also provided potential resources to share with teachers to support their own prevention work to reduce underage drinking and substance misuse.
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

We organized our activity with community sectors such as a local business owners and educators. We involved a local business in our planning process and held the event at a local business. The owner of the local business also contributed to the conversation surrounding youth drinking and substance use. We also involved educators in the planning process by having educators tell other educators about the event and getting their feedback about the event. Our intended audience was teachers from the Hamtramck Public School District, who will influence youth. We were able to reach our intended audience from prior connections we had already established within the school district and more connections we built from holding presentations about substance misuse within the schools.

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

COVID-19 did not affect our Communities Talk activity.

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