April 6, 2010


Guy Cousins, Director

Office of Substance Abuse 207-287-2595


News Release

Table Talks Promote Parent Support and Networking
As Part of Statewide Underage Drinking Prevention Efforts

AUGUSTA - This spring, hundreds of parents will be coming together across the state to participate in “Table Talks” about preventing underage drinking, announced the Maine Office of Substance Abuse (OSA). The Table Talks are small, informal discussions led by a trained facilitator in a parent's home or similarly comfortable setting.

Inspired by the “Tupperware Party” model, each discussion is meant to be friendly and relaxed. It is designed to provide parents with an opportunity to connect with each other, learn the latest information about underage drinking and what parents can do to prevent use, as well as support each other to keep their kids safe.

Maine 's Table Talks are funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of their 2010 national Preventing Underage Drinking Town Hall Meetings initiative. Maine was granted special approval by SAMHSA to use Table Talks this year instead of the traditional town meeting format.

“I am proud that such a powerful grassroots model was created in Maine ”, said First Lady Karen Baldacci who is currently serving as Chair of the national Governor's Spouses initiative: Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol-Free. “Underage drinking is a serious problem in our state, contributing to depression, academic failure, and violence. Any parent who wants their child to succeed has a stake in preventing underage drinking, yet so many of us don't know where to begin. Table Talks will help parents address that gap.”

“Using the conversation format rather than larger presentations is an important shift,” said Guy Cousins, OSA Director. “This format will allow more parents to get involved on a deeper level. It will give them an opportunity to connect with each other on a subject that is not easy to talk about.”

The "Table Talks: Parents Connecting for Alcohol-Free Youth" materials were developed and piloted in Maine communities. The model was developed as a joint effort of Maine 's Office of Substance Abuse (OSA), the 21 Reasons Coalition and Maine 's Environmental Substance Abuse Prevention Center (MESAP) at Medical Care Development.

To request a facilitator near you to host a Table Talk, go to www.maineosa.org/prevention/adult/tabletalks/contacts.htm , or to learn more about the program, go to www.maineosa.org and click on the “Table Talks” logo on the right-hand menu.