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Community Panel

Hosted by: Taylor County Drug Opposition Partnership

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

We held a live, virtual event with teens in our community to provide them with a safe space to ask questions about underage drinking and substance misuse, without being judged. We invited a local nurse, an Alcohol and Other Drugs Association counselor, a local vice principal, a local athletic director, and a local police officer to help us answer all our youth’s questions. Students were able to submit their questions anonymously via Google Docs, so that they would not feel shy or timid during the live event. After the live event, we shared a link to a Kahoot game so students could play the game and retain the information they learned during our event.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Being in a rural area, many teens and young adults feel like they do not have a lot of other activities to do, and they drink or misuse drugs instead. We have really noticed a rise in vaping alongside underage drinking. We thought that having people close to their age, community members, and people who have gone through addiction talk to them would be a helpful way for them to understand the effects these substances can have on not only their bodies but their lives.

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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
  • 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 planning team consisted of the Taylor County Drug Opposition Partnership, school administration, the health department, law enforcement, and our mental health counselors. We also had two community members who volunteered to be a part of our panel and to share their life story with our students.

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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. Due to COVID-19, we were limited in how many people we could have in one area and to whom we could all reach out. We ended up hosting this as a live event over Zoom and keeping students in the classrooms and the panel in another room. The students could then watch in their classrooms and submit questions if they had any. Many students sent in their questions ahead of time.

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

  • Some of our panel members were unable to attend because of illnesses.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Since we received many of our questions ahead of time, the people who were unable to make it to the live panel that day sent in their answers so we could still read their responses.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities

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