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Planning Your Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking Activity

The design of a Communities Talk activity is directly related to its effectiveness and ability to meet its objectives. Performing an assessment prior to planning your activity is critical. Assessments identify priority issues around underage drinking in your community and give you a sense of the format, content, and messaging that best suits your Communities Talk activity.

Activity Content and Format

Communities Talk activities focus on preventing underage drinking and other substance use—such as marijuana, vaping, and opioids—that can negatively impact the health and well-being of children and youth.

SAMHSA encourages Communities Talk organizers to customize their prevention activities to meet the unique needs of their communities. Such needs may include those created by widely experienced challenges or crises. Depending on the current experiences in a given community, there may be a need for alternatives to in-person activity to keep the prevention conversation relevant and action-focused. Alternatives to in-person activity include webinars and virtual gatherings.

Communities Talk stipends can also be used to support other prevention activities like developing an electronic billboard, creating social media graphics, or designing a promotional campaign. Read past Success Stories for more ideas about ways you can keep the prevention conversation going in your community throughout the year.

Timing

Communities Talk activities can and should be organized at a time when they will have the most impact. You know best where the opportunities lie to bring together stakeholders to start or continue a dialogue on this issue.

SAMHSA resources are designed to support activities at any time of year. You can take advantage of seasonal opportunities, including:

  • SAMHSA's Prevention Day in February
  • Spring break for colleges and universities in March
  • Alcohol Awareness Month in April
  • SAMHSA's National Prevention Week and prom season in May
  • High months of alcohol use initiation by youth in June and July
  • Back to school activities in August
  • National Recovery Month in September
  • National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and Red Ribbon Week in October
  • National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in December

Planning Tools

These resources can help you develop a successful Communities Talk activity.

  • The Communities Talk Quick Start Planning Guide contains strategies and information about underage drinking prevention that can be easily re-applied to the prevention of other substances.
  • A customizable PowerPoint template is available for you to use when developing a presentation for your activity.
  • SAMHSA's Substance Misuse Prevention for Young Adults guide provides relevant research findings, examines emerging and best practices, identifies knowledge gaps and implementation challenges, and offers useful resources you can use in your local strategies.
  • SAMHSA's Focus on Prevention offers information that organizations can use to plan and deliver prevention strategies in a wide array of settings and through a variety of methods.
  • SAMHSA-funded Technology Transfer Centers provide technical assistance and learning resources for you to use in your substance misuse prevention efforts, including webinars and products to help plan virtual meetings.

Next, read about Creating a Promotion Plan for Your Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking Activity.