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Underage Drinking Prevention Local Newspaper Ad

Hosted by: Fountain Hills Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

We used our stipend to publish an ad and column in our local newspaper to promote underage drinking and substance use prevention. We used a SAMHSA-developed print ad from its “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign that focused on underage drinking and how parents can prepare to talk with their teens about it. We customized the print ad by inserting our own coalition logo, including a website URL to direct viewers to parent resources, and added a QR code for people to scan and be automatically sent to our website. We had the ad published in our local community newspaper on December 29, since it is right in the middle of the holiday season when we tend to see more alcohol use. We also had a column published in the December 22 edition of the paper to discuss prevention efforts and emphasize the need for safety around the holidays regarding underage drinking, drug overdose, and other related topics.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Our coalition has been around for more than a decade and continues to emphasize prevention efforts centered around underage drinking and marijuana use. During the past few years, we have also increased our prevention efforts about vaping, since nicotine and THC vaping are increasing at alarming rates among young people across the country. We also participated in a statewide program this past year to increase prevention efforts around counterfeit pills and the rise of fentanyl in such products.

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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?

The work was mostly done by the coalition director, with the intent of building momentum in our community through the “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign for 2022. Our goal was to increase discussion and awareness among parents, guardians, and other adults in the community regarding underage drinking and the use of illegal substances.

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

Since we did not host an in-person activity for this campaign, COVID-19 didn’t really play a part in our planning.

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

  • Change in organizational structure or staff
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Our director had a pivotal role in the planning and implementation of our event, so when a new director stepped in we had to slow down on our planning, but we were able to spark some new ideas and have a success event in the end. We did experience a staff change mid-summer, with a new director taking over the coalition.  

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What are your next steps?

  • 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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