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TO:                  All Superintendents of Schools, Public and Private Secondary and Elementary School Principals, Safe and Drug Free Schools Contact Persons


FROM:             J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner, Department of Education

                        Kim Johnson, Director, Office of Substance Abuse, Department of Mental

                        Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services


DATE:             October 1, 2000


SUBJECT:            MRSA Title 20-A, Section 4803, Sub-section 5, Alcohol Awareness Day


            Alcohol Awareness Day, the first Monday in December, shall be observed by

            studying, for at least 45 minutes, a constructive approach toward the use of alcohol

            and the problems and dangers of alcohol abuse upon the individual, the family, and

            the society.  The Commissioner shall prepare appropriate materials for this



            Alcohol Awareness Day will be December 4, 2000,  as part of Maine’s Alcohol Awareness Week, December 4-8, 2000.  Many civic groups and alcohol service agencies, along with the schools, will be sponsoring Alcohol Awareness Week activities.  Through this law, the state of Maine recognizes the need for schools and community organizations to address alcohol issues.

            Teachers seeking assistance in planning an Alcohol Awareness Day activity may contact the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, Information and Resource Center, Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (DMHMRSAS) at 1-800-499-0027 or 287-8900 or Email at   Age-appropriate materials which can be duplicated for classroom use are available upon request.  The use of a video, followed by a class discussion, is another way to address Alcohol Awareness Day.  The center staff have videos available for loan ( they suggest reserving a video 3-4 weeks prior to the event).  Catalogs including descriptions of the videos and borrowing information are on line at or can be mailed upon request.

            One particular video that might interest you and your students is a Maine Public Television special about the Maine Youth Voices project which aired in May, 2000.  It features four groups of youth from around Maine as they examined alcohol issues in their communities and created their own Public Service Announcement on alcohol issues.  Copies of the 30-minute video are available to Maine educators through the State Library (see enclosed flyer).  For more information on Maine Youth Voices, visit their website through a link on OSA’s website or call project director Carrie Limeburner at 621-6389.

            Beyond observing Alcohol Awareness Day, it is essential that Maine students be provided with education and awareness about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, abuse and dependency.  The Department of Education and the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, DMHMRSAS, encourage the establishment of comprehensive, ongoing programs for Kindergarten through Grade 12 students.  This type of program will produce the greatest impact in the area of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention and education.