Alcohol is the most frequently used substance by adolescents in Maine. Almost one of every four Maine high school students used alcohol in the past 30 days, and more than one third of those students reported binge drinking (2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey). Alcohol consumption by students is impacted by factors such as low perception of harm, low perception of getting caught, and ease of access.
Schools and community organizations are encouraged to work together to address alcohol issues. In alignment with Maine statute, schools across Maine can raise awareness about alcohol use and abuse by observing Alcohol Awareness Day on Monday, December 3 (or another designated day in December). The statute indicates Alcohol Awareness Day shall be observed by studying for at least 45 minutes, a constructive approach toward the use of alcohol and the problems and dangers of alcohol abuse upon the individual, the family and society.
Consider using one or more of the following resources to prepare a message or lesson to enhance your existing health education curriculum:
- National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teachers:
- Multimedia activities on the effects of drug use and teens.
- Brain Power: National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Explores the science of the effects of drugs on the brain and body.
- Heads Up: Real News about Drugs and Your Body: Scholastics:
- Educational series providing teens with science-based materials about the effects of drug use.
- Reach Out Now
- Provides students with scientific facts about the effects of alcohol on the brain and body along with lesson plans to build on critical-thinking skills.
- SAMHSA Evidenced Based Resource Center:
- Provides information and tools needed to incorporate evidence-based prevention practices into community settings.
- Talk they Hear You Campaign:
- Encourages parents and caregivers to have early conversations with children about alcohol.
It is important for Maine students to receive education and awareness about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use as part of comprehensive school health education, Pre-K through High School, and in alignment with the Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction, Health Education Standards. Selecting Evidence-Based Substance Use Prevention Programs: A Guide for Maine Schools Grades K-12 may help determine the most appropriate program for a school community.
There is also a guide to help schools create, update, and enforce a substance use policy. The guide, “Substance Use Policy: A Comprehensive Guide for School Policy Development” provides practical suggestions for a complete policy, based on research and best practices.
For assistance or additional resources, contact the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control Program at 287-8901, TTY 711 or email: TSUP.DHHS@maine.gov. You can order a limited quantity of free alcohol use prevention pamphlets through the Prevention Store http://www.mainepreventionstore.org./