Increasing the Awareness of Addiction and Misuse of Legal Substances
The Brown County Chemical Health Action Team (CHAT) goal is to support educational programs, activities and policies that increase awareness of addiction and misuse of legal substances, and also address the use of illegal substances. The team also works to promote sober activities, create social activities that do not involve the use of substances, and promote a responsible drinking campaign.
CHAT is comprised of representatives from Brown County Family Services, New Ulm Medical Center, Sleepy Eye Medical Center, police departments, area schools, probation, Brown County Public Health and community members. The action team was formed in June 2020 and grew out of the desire to continue a county-wide coalition to deal with substance abuse after the Brown County Underage Substance Abuse Coalition (USAC) disbanded in the fall of 2019. Brown County Public Health and the Heart of New Ulm share coordination and facilitation of CHAT, which focuses on chemical prevention for all ages, countywide.
CHAT Priorities and Recent Accomplishments
Resources for the Community
Over the last several years, the team has developed a number of resources for the community, including:
- Vaping: Know the Risks
- Safe Drinking Strategies flyer
- Drug and Alcohol Statistics sheet
- Brown County Addiction Resources and list of local AA/NA meetings
- Winter Sober Activities flyer
- Radio spots focused on DWI prevention
On World No Tobacco Day in May 2022, the team shared resources with parents that provide tips on how to have open conversations with their kids on tough subjects ans also provided material on the dangers of vaping.
On National Night Out in New Ulm in July 2022, the team provided a list of addiction services and sober activity information to community members.
Red Ribbon Week
The team promoted Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 23-31, 2022, and sponsored an essay contest and a coloring contest, both open to all Brown County residents. Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug-use prevention campaign in the nation focused on keeping kids drug free.
Responsible Drinking Billboard
The team created a billboard to promote responsible drinking, which went up in September 2022 in New Ulm and Springfield.
- Continue creating awareness of the team and local resources
- Continue working on a social host campaign that began toward the end of 2022 and will be presented to county commissioners in early 2023. Studies indicate that social host laws are among the most effective and recommended ways to reduce underage drinking.
- Continue to promote responsible drinking.
Community Scavenger Hunts to Promote Sober Activity
Offered community scavenger hunts in New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Springfield, MN in 2021 to encourage people to get out and practice healthy walking or bicycling activities for both their physical and mental health that don’t involve substance use.
You or Someone You Know Need Help?
In an Emergency
If you or a friend need urgent assistance, call 911 immediately, or take your friend directly to the emergency room. If you feel it’s safe, stay with your friend, or find someone to stay with them until help arrives.
In a Crisis
You are never alone. Help is always available. For immediate support 24/7, reach out to Crisis text line at 741741, South Central Crisis Center at 1-800-247-2809, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free and it’s highly confidential, unless it’s essential to contact emergency services to keep you or a friend safe.
Chemical Health Resources
It is never easy to overcome substance abuse and addiction on your own. However, you can get help from support groups and meetings, which could provide you with a safe environment as you recover from your addiction.
Brown County maintains a schedule of AA and NA meetings that can be found in the Brown County area on their website.
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