Fairfield Cares Community Coalition Launches Social Media Campaign
to Prevent Underage Drinking
Opioid Prevention Grant Also Being Implemented in the Community
Fairfield, CT. February 21, 2018 – Fairfield Cares Community Coalition has announced the launch of #LifeNotWasted, a social media campaign designed to prevent underage drinking by raising awareness of associated risks, promoting healthy choices and strengthening well-being and resilience.
The campaign focuses on three main audiences – parents, students and law enforcement officials, according to the Coalition Co-Chairs, Police Chief Gary MacNamara and Amanda Romaniello.
- For parents, the goal is to increase awareness of the impact of alcohol on the brain, parental monitoring and rules, and awareness of the Social Host Law (a law that imposes liability on social hosts who serve alcohol to adults or minors, usually in a non-commercial setting).
- For students (middle and high school), the goal is to decrease alcohol consumption, increase reporting of parental disapproval, and increase the perception that alcohol use causes harm.
- For law enforcement, the goal is to increase merchant compliance checks, decrease the incidence of DUI (driving under the influence), increase Social Host Law awareness, and strengthen the education and training of officers.
“The messaging will be promoted on media appropriate to each audience,” says Chief MacNamara – Instagram posts to target teens and Facebook posts to target parents and law enforcement. “Messaging will also coincide with seasonal occasions when there are spikes in underage drinking,” he adds.
The campaign is based on results from the Coalition’s 2016 Needs Assessment, which showed that underage alcohol use is the priority problem substance in Fairfield. Funding for the campaign comes from a grant shared by the Coalition and Positive Directions to support prevention efforts and goals in the Fairfield community. Now in the third year of the five-year timeline, the grant designated 2018 as the campaign’s implementation year.
Direct participation of teens
The Youth Committee of Fairfield Cares – comprised of 12 high school students from both Warde and Ludlowe high schools – were instrumental in the direction of the campaign.
They previewed and helped select the campaign concepts based on what they thought would resonate the most with their peers in the community. They also provided feedback and ideas on the creative aspects of the campaign and its rollout, played a role in delivering the campaign, and suggested ways to expand its reach among their peers.
“The campaign is inviting students to upload candid photos and videos of them doing positive things with their lives, including sports, hobbies, friendships, activities, etc.,” says Ms. Romaniello. “The photos and videos tagged #FairfieldCares and #LifeNOTWasted will be curated for a gallery on the Fairfield Cares website. Each week throughout the year, one student will be chosen to receive a gift card from local merchants to celebrate their endeavors.”
Implementing opioid mini grant
In addition to the social media campaign focused on underaged drinking, Fairfield Cares is also in the process of implementing the STR Opioid Mini Grant (State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis). Several Coalition members and an Americorps volunteer are intimately involved with this grant.
The opioid mini grant requires Fairfield Cares to provide seven deliverables:
1) Implement substance misuse prevention and behavioral health promotion initiatives within the community.
2) Educate local pharmacists, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians about the Connecticut Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System (CPMRS).
3) Send a letter to prescribers to promote the use of the CPMRS.
4) Distribute Opioid Use Disorder information to parents through schools and other venues.
5) Host Narcan training in our community, designed to teach ordinary citizens the signs of an Opioid overdose and how to reverse its effects.
6) Work with community leaders to include opioid overdose prevention and safe storage in town plans.
7) Use and implement the statewide media campaign in the local community.
While the STR grant ends on April 30th, The Coalition is engaged with Americorps on a project with similar goals, which will extend the opioid prevention initiatives through the end of September. Contact:
Amanda Romaniello or Gary MacNamara, Coalition Co-Chairs
Amanda@mhsfairfield.com or GMacNamara@fairfieldct.org