Community-based organizations are hosting 1,602 town hall meetings around the country to discuss underage drinking, in a biennial, 50-state effort supported by mini-grants from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
SAMHSA gave $500 stipends to about 1,600 organizations to run the meetings in March and April, to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Month, in April.
That is up from 1,200 stipends given in 2006, said Scott Wing, SAMHSA’s associate administrator for alcohol prevention and treatment policy.
Burnette Scarboro, coalition coordinator for Virginia’s South County Youth Network, said she was disappointed by the small showing of 30 people at her 2006 town hall event. But she expects about 100 parents to show up this year, because of heightened publicity about underage drinking, including several local high-school drunk-driving accidents.
Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), in California, also held a town hall meeting in 2006 and plans another one this year. Tate Hill, vice president of community-based programs, said YLI got involved largely because of its close relationship to the department of behavioral health in Fresno County, and that local governments helped the group find panelists.
For information, including meeting locations, contact (240) 747-7980, http://www.StopAlcoholAbuse.gov.