Use Your Town Hall Meeting to Raise Awareness

 

Town Hall meetings will be held throughout the U.S. to get communities talking about and to raise awareness of the legal, health, and safety issues associated with underage drinking. Nearly 8,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 17 start drinking each day in the U.S. and most of them receive alcohol from parents, friends, and older siblings.

As you have your town hall meetings, talk to parents about the effects of underage drinking. Areas of discussion could include:

  • How large of a problem is alcohol use by underage youth in your community?
  • How easy is it for youth to obtain alcohol in your community?
  • Where do youth in your community access alcohol?
  • If you learned that your teen planned to attend a friend’s party where alcohol was going to be available or served, what would you do?
  • Do you know parents who host parties where alcohol is available or served to teens?
  • If parents knew about the laws and consequences of providing alcohol to teens, would it prevent them from hosting teen parties where alcohol is served?
  • What community-wide strategies can be implemented to reduce underage drinking in your community?

With spring breaks, prom and graduation approaching, communities need to unite and send a unified message to their youth that underage drinking is unsafe, unhealthy, and will not be tolerated.

Mobilize your community by working with various community sectors to create meaningful and long lasting change. Examples of strategies for working with community sectors are available at DrugFreeActionAlliance.org [http://www.drugfreeactionalliance.org/parents-who-host/community-engagement].

Engage Youth to help promote your message and raise awareness. Youth will be able to captivate the attention of parents and other community leaders more than an adult. Youth can speak about the challenges they face in their school and their community and can ask parents to help them by being a parent, not a friend, and refusing to allow underage drinking in their home.

Keep the conversation going beyond the town hall meeting by inviting attendees to attend your coalition meetings and checking in with them. A one and done approach (having one town hall meeting and not going beyond that) will limit the community’s ability to have sustainable change. Use the town hall meeting as a springboard to promote other prevention opportunities.

If you are not involved in planning or hosting a Town Hall meeting, you can search for a Town Hall meeting near you at https://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings/.

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