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CPACS Community Talk On Underage Drinking

Hosted by: CPACS (Center for Pan Asian Community Services)

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

We hosted our Communities Talk activity virtually and focused on sharing the facts and dangers of underage drinking through a short presentation and an interactive trivia game. The event was successful with over 50 participants!

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

According to the Georgia Student Health Survey, the percentage of Cross Keys High School (CKHS) 9th grade students who reported no perceived risk drinking alcohol everyday decreased from 28% in 2017 to 22% in 2020. However, the percentage of CKHS 12th grade students who reported no perceived risk increased from 23% to 28%.

The percentage of CKHS 9th grade students and 12th grade students who reported never drinking alcohol has increased from 72% to 76% and 68% to 78% from 2017 to 2020, respectively. According to the 2019 County Health Rankings, the percentage of alcohol-related deaths has decreased from 30% in 2017 to 22% in 2020. However, it is still significantly higher than the Georgia state average of 16%.

Finally, within the past 5 years, there has been reduced access of alcohol to minors. In the city of Clarkston, 75% of alcohol vendors did not sell alcohol to minors. In 2020, there was a noticeable increase (88%) of local alcohol retailers who did not sell alcohol to minors.

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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
  • Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
  • 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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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

We included our Substance Abuse Prevention & Education Team in our activity planning. We made an impact across parents and youth in the community, and even among some of our own staff members, related to underage drinking prevention.

One thing we are still monitoring in our community is the risk for an increase in opioid use among youth. While there are educational and social service resources available for Dekalb County’s culturally diverse communities, conditions exist for socioeconomic risk factors as well as growth in prevalence of opioid usage amongst youth. According to the Dekalb County Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the percentage of high school students in Dekalb County who used prescription medication without a prescription more than doubled from 2009 to 2015, from 6.7% to 15.4% over that period. Per the 2019 Georgia Department of Public Health Opioid Overdose Surveillance Preliminary Report, Dekalb County ranked 2nd and 3rd in Georgia in opioid-involved overdose deaths by county of injury and county of residence, respectively. Dekalb ranked 4th in the state in opioid-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations. We are watching these data closely so that we can be ready to respond if this becomes another issue for our community to address in addition to underage drinking.

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

  • Prevention-related webinars
  • Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov What’s New email newsletter
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
  • Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
  • Communities Talk Find an Activity Map
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, we could not host an in-person activity, so we pivoted to a virtual format. Fortunately, since we have worked with the community for many years and conducted many programs and services virtually, we did not have many challenges with this adjustment.

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

  • Lack of interest from the community
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We made the issue of underage drinking more relevant for participants by including the impacts of the pandemic on our youth, specifically related to underage drinking and youth consuming alcohol as a coping mechanism for pandemic-related stress and anxiety.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances

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