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Drinking and Driving – What Can Happen?

Hosted by: Young Oak Kim Academy 

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

In early December we held a virtual community meeting using Zoom with students, parents, and school administrators. During the meeting, we watched “Jacqui’s Story,” which details the events surrounding a young woman who was injured by another driver who was driving while intoxicated. We stopped for discussion throughout the video to converse about the dangers and consequences of alcohol use, especially related to the increase in incidences of driving under the influence of alcohol and accidents that happen during the New Year’s Eve holiday.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Our school is located in an urban low-socioeconomic area. Our students and community are very familiar with the negative effects of substance misuse. At our middle school, we have a small problem with marijuana and vaping pen use among our students, and we often find that individuals who use substances tend to have turbulent home or family situations along with more academic and behavioral issues in school. When we see these issues, our counselors and teachers provide additional support for these students. We try to work with the families to alleviate any issues at home through our partnership with the Bresee Foundation Youth Center, which provides mentorship and family resources.

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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
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

We planned this virtual presentation with our school safety officer and coordinated the event with the principal. Our safety officer shared statistics about youth substance use during the event, and our principal promoted the event at our “Coffee with the Principal” event and through the parent center. Additionally, the parent center used word of mouth to ask parents to attend, and we promoted the event to students during classes to ensure that our intended audience of youth and parents could attend.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk toolkits
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes. Due to concerns with COVID-19, we conducted the meeting virtually and not in-person.

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

  • Adapting to conducting a virtual activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Putting on the event virtually was not ideal; however, with the help of our safety officer, we were able to put on a nice presentation and adapt to the virtual meeting. The biggest challenge was encouraging open conversation among participants in a virtual setting, as our in-person events typically see more people willing to share personal stories and participate. Despite this shift, the presentation was very informative, and the video we shared was moving and emotional. Overall, we felt the event was successful and impactful for everyone.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances

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