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The Maine Approach

Maine's Guide for Comprehensive School
ATOD Prevention Programming

Maine Office of Substance Abuse

INTRODUCTION

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 communities.

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" Elements

  1. EDUCATION & AWARENESS...
    To develop, design and deliver Education and Awareness programs for school board, administration, faculty/staff and selected community groups.

  2. POLICIES & PROCEDURES...
    To develop and implement Policy and Procedures for youth and adults in schools, homes and other community institutions.

  3. 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.

  4. SUPPORT GROUPS...
    To establish Support Groups for all using, non-using and/or affected youth and adults.

  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.

  6. PRIMARY PREVENTION CURRICULUM...
    To assist in the implementation of a Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve Comprehensive Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Primary Prevention Curriculum.

  7. 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 APPROACH".

  8. 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.

  9. PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT...
    To encourage Parent and Community Involvement to support the reinforcement of attitudes and behaviors beyond the school setting.

  10. 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)

FOCUS GROUPS

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 focus groups.

EDUCATION & AWARENESS GROUP

POLICY & PROCEDURESS GROUP

CLIMATE & CURRICULUM GROUP

SUPPORT GROUP FOCUS GROUP

PARENT/COMMUNITY FOCUS GROUP

PROGRAM EVALUATION FOCUS GROUP

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.

Another important focus group is one that is specifically concerned with MAINTAINING THE TEAM momentum.

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 FAMILIES.

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
TTY: 1-800-606-0215


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