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What’s New

Communities Talk What’s New articles share information to help event organizers plan, host, and evaluate events aimed at mobilizing a community around evidence-based prevention of underage drinking.

Whatever Venue or Format Works in Your Community Works for Communities Talk! Plus, Tips for Using Your Planning Stipend.


Inside, Outside, Small, Virtual—Whatever Venue or Format Works in Your Community Works for Communities Talk!

Not all Communities Talk events need be large or follow a traditional meeting approach.

Every community is unique, with different populations and different concerns about the causes and impacts of underage drinking. You know your community best! Consider what venue and meeting format can reach your community with messages that will resonate, educate, and mobilize people to take action to prevent underage drinking.

Hosting a virtual event using social media makes it easy to gather people together when in-person meetings won’t work. For example, in rural areas people often live far apart. In other communities, parents with busy schedules may not have time to meet face-to-face. You can overcome these challenges by hosting a virtual event such as a Twitter chat! During the chat, link to a SAMHSA Talk. They Hear You. video and chat with participants, educating them about the importance of parents in preventing their children from using alcohol. You also could use Facebook Live to feature a Q&A with an expert in the field.

Planning a gathering may seem overwhelming, but if your community holds regular monthly meetings of any kind—like a PTA or youth group meeting—you could request time on the agenda to focus on underage drinking prevention. Don’t forget to use SAMHSA materials, like Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts, to educate your participants.

Your event also can address other substances of misuse that are associated with underage drinking. Substance use is often co-occurring—meaning use of one substance is related to use of another. Use of opioids, e-cigarettes, and marijuana have all been linked to alcohol use.1,2

Some communities even host outdoor events, such as one event in Montana. Communities Talk events don’t need to follow a specific format to be successful—they just need to connect with your community!

1 Office of the U.S Surgeon General and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Know the Risks: e-Cigarettes & Young People. Retrieved from https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/knowtherisks.html
2 McCabe, S. E., Veliz, P., & Patrick, M. E. (2017). High-intensity drinking and nonmedical use of prescription drugs: Results from a national survey of 12th grade students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 178, 372–379. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580264/

Using Your Planning Stipend

SAMHSA requires Communities Talk stipends be used to cover the costs of planning, promoting, and hosting an event. Here are some ways you can use your stipend to enhance your event:

  • Refresh outdated materials.
  • Create a video for the event.  
  • Build or update a website.
  • Develop a mobile app. 
  • Rent a facility.
  • Print promotional materials.
  • Print materials for distribution to attendees.
  • Purchase software that will help expand and enhance your prevention social media work—a digital camera, for example.

Remember, stipends cannot be used for food and beverages, to pay for entertainment, door prizes, discounts, incentives, or for promotional products like T-shirts, baseball caps, or coffee mugs.