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Stopping Underage Drinking Through Education, Dissemination, and Community Inclusion

Hosted by: Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

We held a virtual town hall meeting in partnership with our Student Nurses Association and the College of Nursing to discuss the various physical effects that underage drinking and alcohol abuse can have on our bodies. All students from our Florida Atlantic University campus were invited to join our “Stopping Underage Drinking” event. We discussed specific alcohol-induced conditions such as liver cirrhosis and pancreatitis, and after an in-depth presentation, students had the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences with peer pressure in regard to underage drinking and binge drinking.

As a result of our event, we were able to develop a poster presentation about these topics (i.e., underage drinking and binge drinking) and present that at the Southern Nursing Research Society annual conference in New Orleans on February 22, 2022.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

As a university, we see lots of instances of underage drinking and binge drinking in our community. As such, we completed a community analysis of people who died from ethanol or alcohol in our community and found that a considerable proportion of people 0–17 years of age died from alcohol-related deaths. These eye-opening statistics were important for us to share with our campus community and partners to amplify the importance of these trends and topics.

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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
  • Create new resources/materials (e.g., publications, handouts, factsheets, videos, graphics) to support prevention of underage drinking and misuse of other substances
  • Presentation on alcohol-related deaths in Florida at a national conference.
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

We involved nursing students and the local Sigma chapter in the activity planning, and this activity affected our Florida Atlantic University students.

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

  • Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, initially we had an in-person town hall format planned for our event, but due to COVID-19, we had to switch to a virtual event.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • In general, we need funding to sustain efforts and conduct research so that we can focus on dissemination of information about this important topic, particularly among college students.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We overcame these challenges by being flexible, using a Zoom link and slides, and facilitating interactive discussions.

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What are your next steps?

  • 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)

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