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Amado Town Hall

Hosted by: Pima County CPC PPEP Amado

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The Pima County Prevention Coalition held a town hall meeting for 6th- through 12th-grade students from the Sahuarita Unified School District and Continental Elementary (K–8) School District. Ninety-three students attended workshops about building positive self-esteem, reducing stress and anxiety, and supporting their peers when they experience stressful situations. In addition, The National Guard’s Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) Outreach task force provided students with an educational presentation about the dangers of underage drinking, including a live demonstration using “drunk googles” to show the harmful effects of alcohol. The school district provided a free lunch for all students who attended, and each student left the event with a goody bag full of underage drinking prevention materials.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

There are several ways that we see underage drinking affect our community. Amado is a small, rural community with limited resources related to local law enforcement, and response times from county law enforcement can be up to an hour, meaning that we have less opportunity to enforce underage drinking laws and protect our youth.

Through an assessment of needs and capacity, our coalition identified a need to expand our prevention efforts to include neighboring communities to effectively address underage drinking. These neighboring communities are where retail establishments and event centers are located, and where peers of Amado youth live. We also know through focus group data that Amado youth who drink get their alcohol primarily from family members.

Finally, because Amado is located along interstate I-19, many of our local youth drivers use this highway to travel to and from their destinations. Unfortunately, we also see a higher-than-average rate of crashes involving alcohol and other substances along this highway.  

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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 invited the youth who attended our 2019 Communities Talk forum to meet with our rural prevention coordinator to provide input on what they wanted to see in this year’s event. The youth suggested music, interactive activities, and the use of social media in the event. We also included the National Guard DDR, a clinical psychologist, and staff from Serenity First Prevention and Support Coalition, Sahuarita Unified School District, Continental K–8 School District, Sahuarita Food Bank, and other local organizations. Our main audience was our local youth.

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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
  • We used the website on a regular basis to stay up to date with the most current prevention information to educate our community.
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes. Due to state mandates and restrictions, our event dates changed. We also provided hand sanitizer and face masks during the event.

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

  • We did not face any other challenges.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We followed state and local COVID-19 guidelines, and rescheduled the event once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

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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
  • 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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