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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking?

When will Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking take place?

Can I participate if I am not an event host?

How can I find a Communities Talk event near me?

Are planning stipends available for 2017 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking?


What are the password requirements?

When registering, why is a secondary contact required?


Is there a registration deadline to confirm my organization’s participation?

Is there a specific time period in which to hold a Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking?

Is there a prescribed format for an event?


Can a Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking be a part of another activity?

Are there lessons learned from past Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking initiatives on hosting a successful event?


What is an event recap?

What should I include in my event recap?

Still have a question?


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the lead agency for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, has sponsored nationwide Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking since 2006. Community-based organizations, together with youth, colleges, and universities, host events to:

  • Educate community members about the consequences of underage and high-risk drinking;
  • Empower communities to use evidence-based approaches, including environmental prevention, to reduce underage and high-risk drinking; and
  • Mobilize communities around underage and high-risk drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

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SAMHSA encourages event hosts to hold events as part of Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking throughout the year to build momentum around a national dialogue about underage drinking prevention. Many organizations hold their events in the spring to tie in with related observances—April is Alcohol Awareness Month and SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, which occurs in May, includes an observance day specifically around reducing underage drinking. View the underage drinking prevention planning calendar for a list of more observances. Hosts can also hold an event to respond to a timely community need or issue.

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Yes, anyone can help; everyone is needed. Local businesses can partner with host organizations by contributing goods and services, such as food and drinks, giveaways, and other incentives. Individuals can help by volunteering their expertise, serving as event organizers and expert speakers, or encouraging people to attend. Find out how you can help by contacting an event host in your area. Host organizations are listed on the searchable Find a Meeting map.

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Visit the Find a Meeting map and click on your state or territory, or enter your ZIP code for a listing of meetings near you. If no meetings appear, either expand the distance from your location or click on the state or territory to see its full list.

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No, stipends are not available for events held in 2017. SAMHSA sponsors national Communities Talk events every 2 years. The next round of events is scheduled for 2018; SAMHSA will again be offering planning stipends if funds are available.

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Passwords must contain at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, AND one of the following special characters: !@#$*()^~&;:=_

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In the event that the primary contact is unavailable or cannot be reached at his or her registered e-mail address, a secondary contact provides an alternate way to maintain communications.

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All 2016 planning stipends have been distributed. The next round of stipends will be distributed for events in 2018 if funds are available, with registration opening in late 2017 or early 2018. Sign up for the Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking e-Alerts to receive news, resources, and registration information for the 2018 round of Town Hall Meetings. Remember, you can still hold an event during non-stipend years and register your meeting for 2017.

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SAMHSA encourages underage drinking prevention event organizers to hold their events between March and May. However, Communities Talk event hosts can conduct their events anytime of the year. View the planning calendar, with a list of national observances. Or consider holding an event to respond to a timely community need or issue.

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No, there is no set format for an event. Events can be conducted in a physical location or via the Internet. They can also take several approaches. Sample ideas include a panel discussion, student presentation, roundtable, open-microphone community forum, or webinar. For more ideas, read the Success Stories on the Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings website. Creativity is encouraged, although SAMHSA expects Communities Talk events to:

  • Be open to the public;
  • Inform participants about the consequences of underage drinking and evidence-based measures to prevent it;
  • Encourage audience discussion of solutions to the problem;
  • Engage community members in pursuing prevention actions; and
  • Lead to results that can be measured and reported.

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Yes, a Communities Talk event can be combined with another community event, as long as underage drinking prevention is a key, related topic. For example, underage drinking prevention could be discussed along with prevention and reduction of HIV/AIDS, school and sexual violence, drug abuse, or other public health problems.

Remember that the purpose of a Communities Talk event is to mobilize communities around prevention. Distributing brochures at a health fair, posting information about underage drinking on a Facebook page, or holding an alcohol-free event for small groups of students does not meet this standard. If you are uncertain about whether your event plan is acceptable, contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net with your questions.

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Hosts from past Communities Talk events have shared the following tips to help new hosts hold a successful event:

  • Familiarize yourself with the Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings website before you start planning. Over the last year, SAMHSA has been updating the website with the latest data, new Success Stories, and up-to-date ways to plan, promote, and evaluate your event.
  • Connect the purpose of the meeting to a specific objective (e.g., policy change, campus security, knowing signs of alcohol poisoning/blackouts, social hosting, drinking and driving) rather than to underage drinking awareness in general.
  • Use a skilled facilitator to keep the conversation productive and focused on solutions rather than complaints about the difficulties of prevention.
  • Work with the college/university president, student administration vice president, or student life/residential/health center staff when planning on-campus events to make sure the Town Hall Meeting runs smoothly.
  • Urge policymakers and members of the local business community to attend meetings and stay for the duration.
  • Ensure that attendees know the meeting is part of a much larger effort, such as state and federal underage drinking prevention initiatives.
  • Have a plan in place to conduct a meeting follow-up to keep the momentum going.
  • Take the time to listen to the community, because the people who attend these meetings are the ones who have something to say. When your community neighbors see you listening to their ideas and assembling them to form a viable underage drinking prevention plan, their excitement will lead to engagement and, ultimately, success.

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The event recap provides a way for Communities Talk event hosts to share the results of their events with SAMHSA. All recaps are reviewed by the national initiative organizers. Some will be nominated for Success Stories. SAMHSA uses Success Stories as opportunities for event hosts to share lessons learned in using Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking to engage a community in prevention. Please take a few minutes to share the results of your event.

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Answer the questions provided, with an emphasis on how your community and its solution to underage drinking are unique. Add quotes from the audience as well as the organizers. Upload promotional flyers and photos that can illustrate your story. Be specific. Numbers provide clear evidence of what you accomplished through a Communities Talk event. Number of attendees is one indication of success, but numbers that demonstrate measurable progress in prevention are even more compelling.

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Contact us at info@stopalcoholabuse.net or 1-866-419-2514.

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