Small Talks: Fall 2023 Newsletter

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Small Talks: Fall 2023 Newsletter

Small Talks: How WI Prevents Underage Drinking

Preventing underage drinking is important work that requires commitment from the entire Wisconsin community. Through the Small Talks campaign, we share the dangers of underage drinking, and provide tools and resources that help all adults – especially parents and caregivers – know when and how to discuss alcohol with the kids they influence. 

Here is the fall 2023 edition of the Small Talks newsletter. The next Small Talks newsletter will be published in spring 2024. Check out past newsletters on the DHS website.

Holiday season a teaching opportunity

The holidays are a time when kids are more likely to have access to alcohol. Connect, communicate, and commit to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

  • Connect: Show you care about their health, wellness, and success.
  • Communicate: Choose everyday opportunities to discuss why underage drinking is dangerous, such as in the car, watching TV, or during dinner time.
  • Commit: Create clear and consistent rules together.

Great places for conversations

At the ballpark

Kenosha Kingfish mascot promoting Small Talks, first pitch at Northwoods League game, and fans with Small Talks giveaways

We partnered with the Northwoods League to promote Small Talks in August at baseball games in Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Mequon, Wausau, and Wisconsin Rapids. Nearly 166,000 people attended these games where they saw Small Talks ads throughout each stadium, heard the announcer share Small Talks information, and visited with us for Small Talks giveaways, including bags and squishy baseball toys. 

At the state Capitol

Small Talks sign on state Capitol lawn

We partnered with the Rally for Recovery to promote Small Talks in September in Madison. More than 300 people attended this event where they saw Small Talks ads and visited with us for Small Talks giveaways, including bags, refrigerator locks, and magnets. 

New resources coming soon

Alcohol is part of Wisconsin's culture. Many adults consider underage drinking a rite of passage. Many adults also drink excessively and use alcohol to cope with stress. For the health and safety of our state, we're working on new resources to:

  • Help adults understand that underage drinking is a big deal with big impacts on the next generation.
  • Provide tips for adults to rethink their drinking. 

We plan to share this information starting early next year through our website, social media posts, and more. 

Updated tool for alcohol age compliance checks

Person purchasing alcohol and showing identification

The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project at the Medical College of Wisconsin, a partner in the Small Talks campaign, has updated its Alcohol Age Compliance Checks Manual. This tool provides guidance on how communities can reduce and prevent sales and service of alcoholic beverages by licensed retailers to people under the age of 21 through alcohol age compliance checks. It will be published November 29 on the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project's website

You're invited to attend two webinars to learn how to use this tool to make a difference in your community. Registration is required for these events. 

You will receive a confirmation email after you register with information on how to join the events.

A complete approach to substance use prevention 

Building safe and healthy communities takes more than Small Talks. Our current efforts to strengthen communities includes other campaigns – Real Talks Wisconsin, Dose of Reality, and Resilient Wisconsin. Together, that's four campaigns with the same goal. Here's an overview of how these efforts work together.

  • Real Talks Wisconsin: This effort focuses on adult-to-adult conversations on all types of substance use that promote connection, hope, and healing. See Real Talks Wisconsin promotional tools.
  • Small Talks: This effort focuses on adult-to-child conversations on alcohol use (with a focus on all types of substance use in the works) that promote understanding of the negative impacts of substance use on growing bodies. See Small Talks promotional tools.
  • Dose of Reality: This effort focuses on adult-to-adult conversations on opioid use that promote understanding of the risks of opioids and ways to reduce the risks. See Dose of Reality promotional tools.
  • Resilient Wisconsin: This effort focuses on actions to give everyone in our state the opportunity to live their best lives through education on the impact of adverse childhood experiences, trauma, and toxic stress on substance use (and mental health). See Resilient Wisconsin promotional tools.

Want to learn more? We hosted a workshop at the 2023 Wisconsin Substance Use Prevention Conference that provided insights on each campaign, how they work together, and ways you can promote them in your community. Watch the recording | #SmallTalksWI

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