Local Coalition and Prevention Network to Host Free Town Hall Event and Movie Screening

August 22, 2019

The Pathways to Healthy Living coalition and Wichita Mountains Prevention Network will be hosting a town hall to discuss local youth substance abuse prevention that will be accompanied with a free screening of Captain Marvel afterwards. The town hall will be at The Palace Theater in Duncan, OK (926 W Main St) at 1PM on August 24th. The event will have giveaway items that will be raffled off for those that complete a quick survey as well as free popcorn for the first 50 people to arrive. The purpose of the event will be to educate community members on local drug trends, recognizing non-traditional alcohol packaging, the Social Host law, and the local efforts to reduce youth substance abuse.

From the 2016 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment, Stephens County youth self-reported that:

· 12.5% have had 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row in the past two weeks

· 13.8% have used marijuana in their lifetime

· Of the youth that reported using prescription drugs to get high, 30.8% got them from someone’s medicine cabinet

All of the above statistics were found to be either equal or higher than the average for the state of Oklahoma. “We know that these problems are not unique to Stephens County, it’s not only a statewide problem but a national problem as well. But we want our community to be above average in terms of youth health and safety,” said Jillian Latimer, the program director for a Drug Free Communities grant working to prevent underage drinking and illegal youth use of marijuana in Duncan, OK. Illegal youth substance abuse contributes to various crimes, car crashes, injuries, and even deaths across the state of Oklahoma. Public health officials report that substance abuse is also associated with sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, sexual assault, and other health problems.

The town hall is funded by a grant given out through Communities Talk. Communities Talk events were created with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with the federal government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking. To learn more about this national initiative, visit https//www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings and join the online conversation on social media using #CommunitiesTalk. Wichita Mountains Prevention Network, one of the hosting agencies, is grant funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) and SAMHSA.