December, a Time to Raise Awareness About Alcohol Use

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.
It is important for schools, families, and community organizations to work together to address alcohol use issues. In alignment with Maine statute, schools across Maine are encouraged to raise awareness about alcohol use, misuse and abuse through an Alcohol Awareness Day. This has traditionally been in December. Schools are encouraged to focus studies on alcohol use awareness in elementary through secondary schools as part of health education class and other disciplines. Resources to help enhance instruction on the harms and consequences of alcohol misuse and the impact on individuals, families, and society are included below.
Alcohol Awareness resources include:

Multimedia activities on the effects of drug use and teens.

Explores the science of the effects of drugs on the brain and body.

This series provides teens with science-based materials about the effects of drug use.

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.

Provides information and tools needed to incorporate evidence-based prevention practices into community settings.

Encourages parents/caregivers to have early conversations with children about alcohol.
Beyond an Alcohol Awareness observance day, it is important for Maine students to receive education and awareness about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use throughout the year. This is done 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 you 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:  You can order a limited quantity of free alcohol use prevention pamphlets through the Prevention Store