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Getting Started

More than 9 million of America’s young people drink alcohol, illegally and dangerously.

Resources

This year, thousands of organizations nationwide will be hosting Town Hall Meetings to mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention. Get involved in this national movement to learn what you and your community can do to prevent underage drinking. Anyone can help; everyone is needed.

Introduction

Welcome From Frances M. Harding
View this short message in which Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, encourages individuals and organizations to use website resources to host, support, or attend 2014 Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking.

In 2010, underage drinking cost communities nationwide an estimated $62 billion. The cost to individuals and their families in terms of injury, death, and other consequences of underage drinking is immeasurable.

This year, thousands of organizations across the nation will be hosting Town Hall Meetings to:

  • Educate community members about the consequences of underage drinking;
  • Empower communities to make environmental changes to prevent underage drinking; and
  • Mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

Help prevent underage drinking by participating in a Town Hall Meeting. If your organization would like to be invited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to host an event, e-mail your organization’s information to info@stopalcoholabuse.net. You can find a meeting in your area to volunteer at as a cosponsor or speaker or to attend and add your voice to those calling for prevention.

For New Town Hall Meeting Organizers

The following training video, in English and Spanish, provides a basic introduction on hosting a Town Hall Meeting to prevent underage drinking:

Town Hall Meeting Guidelines

Events can be conducted in a physical location or via the Internet and take any of several approaches (e.g., panel discussion, student presentation, roundtable, open-microphone community forum, or webinar). Regardless of approach, SAMHSA expects Town Hall Meetings to:

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

A Town Hall Meeting can be combined with another community event so long as underage drinking prevention is a key, related topic. For example, underage drinking prevention should be considered during any community discussion to prevent and reduce HIV/AIDS, school violence, drug abuse, or other public health problems and to promote the mental health of youth. The recommended, but not required, theme of Our Town. Our Health. Our Future. can help frame a discussion about the many problems that underage drinking prevention can reduce.

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