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Blackford County Task Force

Hosted by: Drug Free Blackford County

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

We held an in-person discussion for about an hour and a half at Blackford County Junior-Senior High School to discuss various prevention activities and initiatives coming up in the county. The meeting was attended by around 50 people, and many were surprised at the great turnout. Various community agencies were represented, including members of the law enforcement, judicial, probation, corrections, medical, school, and faith communities. This Communities Talk activity was so successful that it led to a full-on vaping task force that is funded through a full two-year capacity grant. This grant provides a two-year full-time community coordinator who will focus on tackling the vaping problem. The grant is renewable, so the community can have sustainability in the efforts to tackle youth THC vaping. 

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

THC vaping has been rapidly increasing in schools in Indiana and is more severe than vaping tobacco within schools. Blackford County Junior-Senior High School got a new principal last year and wanted to do more to reduce THC vaping among youth in schools. This Communities Talk activity was done with community agencies like the juvenile probation officer and police chief who would receive citations and referrals of students being cited with THC vaping. These community members came together to tackle this problem in this community. 

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

  • Community-Based Process Strategy - focuses on enhancing the capacity of the community to address AOD issues through organizing, planning, collaboration, coalition building, and networking.
  • Information Dissemination Strategy - focuses on improving awareness and knowledge of the effects of AOD issues on communities and families through “one-way” communication with the audience such as speaking engagements, health fairs, and distribution of print materials.
  • Problem Identification and Referral Strategy – focuses on identifying individuals who have infrequently used or experimented with AOD who could change their behavior through education. The intention of the screening must be to determine the need for indicated prevention services and not treatment need.`
  • 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.
  • Create alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention action groups (e.g., committees, task forces, and advisory boards).
  • Develop strategic plans to reduce and prevent alcohol and/or other drug misuse.
  • Build coalitions with other agencies or programs to reduce and prevent alcohol and/or other drug misuse.
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Did you accomplish your goal(s)?


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How did you overcome these challenges?

We invited local business owners selling vaping products

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What are your next steps?

  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Drug Free Blackford County just got the renewable grant in July, and they will meet every first Wednesday of the month after the tobacco task force meeting. These two meetings willl allow community members are gathered together to plan the next steps in addressing the THC vaping problems among youth
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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
  • Secondary schools
  • Elementary schools
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Which of the following best describes the primary audience(s) for your Communities Talk activity?

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

To reach and engage youth to participate in the activity, Drug Free Blackford County primarily communicates through school communication channels. Using the school’s electronic news board and social media, the school was informed about the Communities Talk activity. It also helped that this is a small community, so whenever there are efforts to improve the community and its people, everyone comes together to help. 

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

  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits

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