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Drug Free Looks Like Me
The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Inc.
Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.
We developed a 4-minute 33-second video for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Red Ribbon Week to talk more about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use involving teens. The skits touch on some of the related consequences teens may not be aware of when they do things without their parents’ knowledge. We also mentioned some of the harmful effects alcohol has on the teenage brain and how parties can get dangerous when drugs and alcohol are involved. The education of the social host law for Georgia was also mentioned, and youth were involved as actors during this production.
The video includes two different skits as themes for these conversations. We are hopeful we can build onto these videos in the future by providing more supportive resources for families and youth.
How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?
A few years ago, our community was faced with an incident involving several high schoolers and underage drinking that underscored the importance of talking about the risks of underage alcohol use. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in allegations of criminal activities and the individuals involved in this case are still affected by this experience today. Those facing allegations have had to put their life on hold until their case is decided in court, and their lives are at a standstill, waiting to see what the future holds for them. This incident is just one example of how one night of partying and underage drinking can ruin young lives forever, so we are very motivated to educate the rest of our youth about making healthy and safe decisions.
What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?
- 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
- Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Needed additional resources to conduct activity
- Unforeseen difficulties when planning our activity
- Adapting to conducting a virtual activity
How did you overcome these challenges?
We asked for a donated space to record our skit/video clips, and we used volunteers. We then shared the video directly with the school systems so that they could show the video to students during announcements and in school advertisements on campus during Red Ribbon Week.
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
- Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community
- Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)
Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?
- Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
- Communities Talk website
- Communities Talk planning guides
- Communities Talk toolkits
Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?
There were five youth volunteers and our local Drugs Don’t Work committee, Gordon County Chamber of Commerce, and Gordon Prevention Initiative (Drug Free Communities Grantee). We had plans for an in-person community event but needed to scale down our team significantly due to high COVID-19 numbers and exposure in the community leading up to Red Ribbon Week. So, we needed to get creative and think outside of the box. We used a local private videographer from Bam Cam Visuals to help bring our video skit resource to life. Then we shared our completed product with both local school systems for all middle and high school students to view the final video. Estimated community reach in Gordon County was 5,296 local students between the ages of 11 and 18.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?
Yes, this was initially supposed to be an in-person community event involving multiple public agencies and several youth groups, but due to COVID-19 we needed to consider a variety of risks associated with having the event in-person. So, we opted to create a video, with significantly lower risks of exposure and involving fewer youth and community partners gathering in-person to produce the video. We also did not need as many financial, space, and time resources as the proposed in-person event would have required. We were able to pull together the video production over the course of two weeks, with fewer than 10 volunteers, small props, a donated venue for space, and a private video production company.