Successful Kick-offs Held for Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking

Every two years URC manages the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Town Hall Meeting events to help educate communities about underage drinking and mobilize them around its prevention.

These events assist community-based organizations (CBOs) in educating their communities about the risks and consequences of underage drinking and in mobilizing them to engage in prevention strategies. So far this year, the project has registered over 1,300 CBOs that will present events in a wide range of venues and formats. Timed to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Month, the national launch of Town Hall Meetings took place April 11 at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health, and featured Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH, the Acting US Surgeon General.

Dr. Lushniak discussed the problems associated with underage drinking in the United States.  He noted that alcohol dependence is highest among 18- to 20-year olds, and early heavy drinking is associated with increased risk for adverse lifetime alcohol-related consequences. He then described the national prevention strategy, stressing the importance of working with the community to help young people make healthy choices. National launch events were captured here.

Also in April, the kick-off meeting for Massachusetts’ Town Hall Meetings was held in Boston and featured guest speaker Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.  The commonwealth’s Department of Public Health hosted the first in a series of statewide meetings that will examine ways to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug abuse.

To find or host a Town Hall Meeting in your area, please visit SAMHSA’s special web site dedicated to this purpose.

Date 
June 05, 2014
Authors 
Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
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