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THE FIRST DAY, A Focus on the Beginning

Hosted by: SAFE in NM

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

Through the power of storytelling, the film, THE FIRST DAY, addressed some of the most difficult issues facing teens. The film provides insight into addiction, as well as substance use, other harmful behaviors, and mental health conditions. We held four virtual town hall meetings where we shared this film with parents and community members and had a great discussion afterwards.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

We use the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth survey to analyze the current youth use in our community along with focus groups and key-informant interviews.

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

Our SAFE coalition in Northern Michigan planned and implemented the event; many sectors were involved from the beginning until the end.

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

Yes, but we found that going virtual worked really well for this event.

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

None.

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How did you overcome these challenges?

We learned to think outside the box, parents are open to trying something new.

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What are your next steps?

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