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McDowell Youth Forward Underage Drinking Video

Hosted by: RHA Prevention Resource Center

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

Our Communities Talk activity had multiple planning sessions with 13 youth, ranging from 6th graders to 12th graders, in McDowell County, North Carolina. Our youth decided to create an underage drinking video that their peers would understand. They designed the entire project with support from the McDowell Youth Forward Coalition. The youth wrote the script, acted in the video, filmed each scene, and assisted with the production. We have shared the final product with our coalition and have a distribution plan to share the video via social media (Facebook: @mcdowellyouthforward, Instagram: @mcdowellyouthforward) and to share it with students in the middle and high schools.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

For privacy reasons we will not share names. In small group discussions in our community, members have shared that there is a youth who think there is no harm in using alcohol. Parents are providing alcohol to their children and their friends at home. One person even stated that parents will have a cooler with alcoholic beverages for adults and then another cooler containing the type of alcoholic beverages they will allow their children under the age of 21 to drink. In the past 30 days, 3.4 percent of 8th and 10th graders have consumed alcohol (Pride Youth Survey 2017).

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

We had multiple planning sessions for our activity that involved 13 youth, ranging from 6th graders to 12th graders, in McDowell County, North Carolina. Our youth decided to create an underage drinking video that their peers would understand. They designed the entire project with support from the McDowell Youth Forward Coalition, which has representatives from the following sectors: schools, law enforcement, substance use prevention agency, civic nonprofit agencies, behavioral health agencies, health and wellness agencies, youth, and parents. We were able to reach our intended audience by allowing youth to create the video.

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

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov What’s New email newsletter
  • Communities Talk website
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, we started meeting face-to-face with the youth in July 2021. By the time school started in August 2021, the local COVID-19 infections were on the rise with the Delta variant, and we could only meet virtually, which made planning difficult.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Lack of interest from the community
  • Inexperience hosting Communities Talk activities
  • Adapting to conducting a virtual activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Overcoming these challenges was difficult, but we just did not stop because we are passionate about helping our youth. We sought out professional videographers, who helped us create the script and write it. They also provided lessons on filming and helped us do voiceovers that aided our youth and those adults assisting with the video to create a great quality product.

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What are your next steps?

  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community

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