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Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking

Hosted by: New Evergreen Baptist Church

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The LaSalle Coalition held an in-person talk session for youth. It included youth members of the coalition, young adults, college students, educators, mayoral candidates, and local law enforcement. The parents who attended were given information on underage drinking. Milestones, like prom and graduation, were discussed. Additionally, the police brought simulators that showed the consequences of drinking and driving.

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

We have a major problem with underage drinking and vaping. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 35 cases of e-cigarette- or?vaping-associated?lung?injury (EVALI) were reported to Louisiana health officials between August and January of 2020. Those cases were reported from throughout the state, with the ages ranging from 1771.

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Which prevention strategy(ies), as defined by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, best fit your Communities Talk activity?

  • Environmental Strategy - focuses on establishing or changing community standards, codes, and attitudes thereby influencing incidence and prevalence of alcohol and other drug use within the community. The strategy depends on engaging a broad base of community partners, focuses on places and specific problems, and emphasizes public policy.
  • Education Strategy – focuses on “two-way” communication between the facilitator and participants and aims to improve life/social skills such as decision making, refusal skills, and critical analysis.
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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Hold meetings or discussion groups on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
  • Start a youth-led coalition on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
  • Build coalitions with other agencies or programs to reduce and prevent alcohol and/or other drug misuse.
  • Work with my local legislators or policymakers to educate about the importance of changes to, or recommend enforcement of, existing laws and policies.
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Did you accomplish your goal(s)?


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

  • Lack of interest from the community
  • A lot parents in our area think that supplying kids at home means it’s safer.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Having law enforcement tell the danger of doing this.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the 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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If you’ve conducted Communities Talk activities in prior years, how has your repeated participation contributed to progress in achieving your prevention goals?

This is our third year hosting a Communities Talk activity. It appears that our prevention work is succeeding, and vaping and underage drinking are decreasing in the community. However, more work needs to be done. We will continue to host Communities Talk activities to address this substance misuse in LaSalle Parish.  

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Organizations that conduct Communities Talk activities often involve other organizations in the planning and execution of events. Please indicate which type(s) of organizations you involved in your activity planning.

  • Faith-based based organizations
  • Law enforcement
  • Youth-led organizations
  • Secondary schools
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Which of the following best describes the primary audience(s) for your Communities Talk activity?

  • Youth
  • Parents
  • Teachers or other education staff
  • Prevention specialists and volunteers
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals
  • Youth leaders (e.g., coaches, parks and recreation personnel, and scouting leaders)
  • Healthcare providers
  • Clergy
  • Black or African American community members
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How did you reach and engage your primary audience(s) to encourage them to participate in your activity?

We reached our primary audience through word of mouth and announcements in the churches

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

  • We had a speaker who is a retired social worker from the Central Louisiana Human Services District.

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