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The Maine Approach

ELEMENT 5 - Student Awareness

TO PROVIDE STUDENT AWARENESS PROGRAMS ON THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND OTHER DRUG USE, ABUSE AND DEPENDENCY ON THE LIVES OF STUDENTS, THEIR PEERS, AND THEIR FAMILIES.

Student awareness programs are intensive experiences intended to help students internalize understandings about the effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, abuse and dependency on their lives, peers and families. Additionally, student awareness programs help break the "no talk" rule about ATOD use, abuse, and dependency and supplement the ATOD curriculum. These short-term programs motivate a large group of students to consider positive alternatives to the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, promote a no-use message, and encourage the support of programs for those who have been affected by use, abuse and dependency. The one-to-five-day sessions encourage students to discuss, in small groups, what they have learned about the disease of ATOD dependency from large group presentations and films. They increase student support and participation in ATOD-free activities, peer program training, student assistance programs, and other prevention activities. In student awareness sessions, students who are involved in alcohol, tobacco and other drug-free activities are supported by their peers. When everyone shares the same information and philosophy about prevention and intervention, students cooperate with one another and the school to help those who need assistance and support.

Student awareness does not replace the need for a comprehensive ATOD curriculum, kindergarten through grade twelve. It fosters a common awareness of ATOD issues in the student population. It increases the receptivity of individuals to more in-depth study of broader use, abuse, and dependency issues throughout the school's academic curriculum. Most of all, it promotes and provides a laboratory for healthy peer modeling and pro-social skill development.


PRESENT INDICATORS FOR STANDARDS OF BEST PRACTICE:

(Rating your understanding from 1 to a high of 5 may help in your planning and evaluation.)

_____ School board policy mandates student awareness programs.
_____ The school board supports student awareness by attending.
_____ Students, parents, and teachers are equally involved in planning , implementing , monitoring and evaluating the student awareness program.

Programs:

_____ Involve students in planning, implementing and evaluating.
_____ Have clearly stated outcomes upon which evaluation is based.
_____ Contain content and activities that are structured to match the interest, experience and developmental level of the students.
_____ Have a clear "no use" message for students.
_____ Address identified needs; risk and protective factors.
_____ Avoid scare tactics.
_____ Are implemented by trained facilitators who are appropriate role models.
_____ Have support systems in place during and after the event.
_____ Encourage participation and are at least 50% interactive.
_____ Consistently utilize students and recent graduates in leadership roles.
_____ Supplement (do not take the place of) comprehensive and sequential curriculum.

Program content includes, but is not limited to:

_____ The dynamics and progression of the addictive process of chemical dependency.
_____ The effects of chemical dependency on the family.
_____ Risk, protective, and resiliency factors and their relationship to chemical use, Abuse and dependency.
_____ Enabling in schools and society.
_____ The existence of the 3 populations (users, non-users, affected).
_____ The Whole person concept and it's relationship to chemical use, abuse, a dependency.
_____ The 4 approaches (moral/legal, public health, psycho-social, and socio-cultural)
_____ The 3 levels of prevention (primary, secondary, tertiary).
_____ The immediate and long-term consequences of ATOD use.
_____ The nature and extent of the problem among youth.
_____ The process for requesting and obtaining non-threatening help.
_____ Related issues (AIDS, violence, discipline, behavior, etc.)
_____ Awareness that all prevention events are endorsed by and seen as part of the community wide prevention initiative.
_____ Community members and agencies outside the school including: local government, law enforcement and clergy, participation.
_____ A plan for public relations.

Revised March 1995.


Maine Office of Substance Abuse
#11 State House Station
A.M.H.I. Complex, Marquardt Building
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

Main Office: 207-287-2595
Information and Resource Center: 1-800-499-0027 (In-State Only)or 207-287-8900
TTY : 1-800-606-0215

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