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The Maine Approach
Maine's Guide for Comprehensive School
ATOD Prevention Programming
Maine Office of Substance Abuse
The long-term success of any effort to address ATOD use, abuse and dependency issues relies on
modeling by individuals throughout the school system and community. As individuals and
members of school and community teams, our day-to-day attitudes and behaviors must
demonstrate acceptance of ATOD dependency as a disease. On a personal level, this means being
willing to examine and deal with one's own patterns of use and/or the ways in which one's life has
been affected by another's ATOD abuse. On an organizational level, this means promoting
activities which support behaviors that encourage a healthy life style and a willingness to deal
with ATODdependency as a disease.
Establishing a comprehensive ATOD prevention and education program requires careful planning,
time, energy, and resources. Implementation of a successful comprehensive approach often takes
three to five years. Local ATOD school and community teams have a unique stance in this
process. They are, in their role of leading, guiding and facilitating implementation of a
comprehensive approach, simultaneously able to serve as quality role models while also
identifying program needs, designing and developing programs and activities to fulfill these
needs, and providing evaluation and long term support and monitoring. Schools and communities
that commit themselves to this long-term effort will need the help and support of local, regional,
and state-wide programs and service agencies. The benefits of instituting the 10 elements of
"THE MAINE APPROACH'' will be reflected in healthier, happier, and more productive
individuals, families, schools, and communities.
"THE MAINE APPROACH" to comprehensive alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) school
prevention programming recognizes that a restricted number of personal assets and environmental
conditions (risk factors) can result in the development of ATOD use and its related problems. The
Prevention and Education Division of the Maine Office of Substance Abuse ("The Division")
encourages individuals/peers, schools and communities to be proactive by developing protective
factors that reduce the risk factors relative to ATOD use. Proactive work, structured within an
environment of HIGH EXPECTATIONS, CARE AND SUPPORT, AND OPPORTUNITIES
FOR INVOLVEMENT, will make a qualitative difference in the lives of Maine students.
The division recommends that schools follow this ongoing process of sequential steps that depend
upon one another to establish a firm foundation for prevention programming. The process must be
nurtured, maintained and institutionalized in order to create lasting changes in schools and
IT TAKES ONE PERSON TO BEGIN THE PROCESS, BUT IT TAKES AN EFFECTIVE
SCHOOL/COMMUNITY TEAM 3-5 YEARS TO LEAD, GUIDE, AND FACILITATE A
COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ATOD PREVENTION.
"THE MAINE APPROACH"
- EDUCATION & AWARENESS...
To develop, design and deliver Education and Awareness programs for school board,
administration, faculty/staff and selected community groups.
- POLICIES & PROCEDURES...
To develop and implement Policy and Procedures for youth and adults in schools, homes
and other community institutions.
- HEALTHY CLIMATE...
To enhance school and community Climate through activities to break the "no talk" rule
about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, abuse and dependency by promoting a safe
environment for all students, staff, and community members.
- SUPPORT GROUPS...
To establish Support Groups for all using, non-using and/or affected youth and adults.
- 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.
- PRIMARY PREVENTION CURRICULUM...
To assist in the implementation of a Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve Comprehensive
Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Primary Prevention Curriculum.
- STAFF DEVELOPMENT...
To promote Staff Development that provides individuals with an opportunity to acquire
the knowledge and skills needed to attain the goal of implementing "THE MAINE
- MODEL ATTITUDES & BEHAVIORS...
To promote Modeling and Attitudes that encourage a healthy life style and demonstrate a
willingness to deal with alcohol, tobacco and other drug dependency as a disease.
- PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT...
To encourage Parent and Community Involvement to support the reinforcement of
attitudes and behaviors beyond the school setting.
- EFFECTIVE PROGRAM EVALUATION ...
To ensure ongoing effective Program Evaluation in order to determine that programs are
meeting stated outcomes and changing needs.
"ANYTHING WE CAN APPLY INDICATORS TO CAN BE MANAGED; ANYTHING THAT
DOES NOT HAVE INDICATORS APPLIED TO IT IS NOT BEING MANAGED- IT IS
DRIFTING. "(George S. Odione)
In developing and implementing "THE MAINE APPROACH" it is essential for the school
and community team to distribute responsibilities. Each team member selects a
focus group in which to concentrate his/her energies. The objective is to divide
team members equally among the groups. Some overlap in the responsibilities of
focus groups is inevitable. A team may include any of the following suggested
EDUCATION & AWARENESS GROUP
- Organizes the school staff in-service training program
- Designs, organizes and implements awareness programs for all school personnel and students
- Coordinates educational resources and training activities
- Works to establish a positive team image in the community through promotion and educational materials
- Provides a mechanism for outreach to involve others in the work of the team
- Establishes long-term goals to meet the local education and awareness needs
POLICY & PROCEDURESS GROUP
- Reviews, drafts and recommends student and employee policies (or changes in policy) to the school board and superintendent
- Establishes training for a Student Assistance Team at each school to help assess students and assures procedures are incorporated into district policy
- Develops and recommends administrative procedures related to implementing policy
(This results in an assistance program which coordinates non-clinical assessment, referral for evaluation, linkages with treatment providers, and support group placement for students with alcohol, tobacco and other drug issues.)
- Establishes long-term goals for monitoring, evaluating and enhancing this program
- Develops a relapse prevention program for recovering students
CLIMATE & CURRICULUM GROUP
- Works toward assuring that a safe climate for support groups and curriculum exists within the school and community
- Reviews, drafts, recommends, and assists in implementing a comprehensive K-12 primary prevention curriculum
- Organizes and coordinates ATOD-free events
- Develops ATOD safety programs
- Develops primary prevention programs for school and community (e.g., refusal skills)
- Establishes long-term goals for continuing, monitoring, evaluating and enhancing climate and curriculum efforts
- Works in conjunction with the school system to assure compliance and coordination with the state's mandated health curriculum areas
SUPPORT GROUP FOCUS GROUP
- Develops and maintains a system of providing educational support groups for appropriate students within the school
- Identifies the availability of existing community-based support groups
- Coordinates with professionals and institutions used for referrals
- Helps with re-entry issues
- Develops and maintains a resource directory
- Establishes long-term goals for continuing, monitoring, evaluating and enhancing the support group system
PARENT/COMMUNITY FOCUS GROUP
- Works toward assuring that the family, school, and community are providing consistent, clear standards regarding the use of ATOD
- Develops activities and programs to encourage bonding to significant adults, a positive peer group, and the community
- Ensures parent and community participation on the school/community team
- Provides programs that include both parents and children
- Provides alternative activities and after school programs
- Utilizes all forms of media to increase awareness of the prevention message and to publicize and promote programs
PROGRAM EVALUATION FOCUS GROUP
- Ensures that program goals and desired outcomes are identified before programs are implemented
- Evaluates each program, including a process assessment--what was done, how, and with whom
- Collects data and conducts and analyzes needs assessments. The data collected will become the basis for programming
- Develops and administers program evaluation instruments to be used to make programmatic changes
- Conducts yearly evaluations of present programs and practices and creates an action plan for the future at school/community team retreats
- Evaluates the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act program
School/community teams may choose to select other focus groups based on their particular needs
and goals. They may decide to divide into the following focus groups: SCHOOL, COMMUNITY,
FAMILY, AND INDIVIDUAL/PEER.
- The school focus group would concentrate on school-based programs, policies, etc.
- The community focus group would concentrate on local government and laws, employee assistance programs in business and industry, etc.
- The family focus group would involve adult/community education, parenting programs, prenatal projects, etc.
- The individual/peer focus group would concentrate on self esteem, social skills, bonding, chemical free activities, etc.
Another important focus group is one that is specifically concerned with MAINTAINING THE
- Establish a team evaluation plan
- Plan the yearly team retreat
- Write the mini-grant/evaluation for the team retreat
- Plan activities for team building, including fun and recognition
- Develop a plan for membership, recruitment and leaving
Note: "THE MAINE APPROACH" HAS BEEN UPDATED, BROADENED AND REFINED
AS A RESULT OF UTILIZATION AND EXPERIENCE OF THOUSANDS OF MAINE
PEOPLE. IN CONJUNCTION WITH CURRENT RESEARCH, "THE NEW MAINE
APPROACH" DEMANDS COLLABORATION AMONG SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES, AND
Standards of Best Practice taken from:
Drug Free Schools and Communities Recognition Ceremony Booklet,1993
Roles and Responsibilities for a DFSC chart DFSACA
Aguirre Handbook for Comprehensive School-based ATOD Programs,1992
Charting A Course,1995
Working with Evaluators, NIDA,1988
Communities That Care, Hawkins and Catalano, 1992
Fostering Resiliency in Kids, Bonnie Benard, 1991
Experienced practitioners in Maine schools
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
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