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INFORMATIONAL LETTER: 16
POLICY CODE: IHAMA
TO: All Superintendents of Schools, Public and Private Secondary and Elementary
School Principals, Safe and Drug Free Schools Contact Persons
FROM: Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner, Department of Education
Kimberly Johnson, Director, Office of Substance Abuse, Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services
DATE: September 2, 2003
RE: 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 observation.
Alcohol Awareness Day will be December 1, 2003, as part of Maine’s Alcohol Awareness Week, December 1-5, 2003. Many civic groups and alcohol service agencies, along with 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 Behavioral and Developmental Services at 1-800-499-0027, or 287-8900, TTY 1-800-215-7604 or Email at email@example.com. Age-appropriate materials, which can be duplicated for classroom use, are available upon request. Using a video, followed by a class discussion, is another way to address Alcohol Awareness Day. The Center staff has videos available for loan (they suggest reserving a video at least 3 weeks prior to the event). All titles are online in a searchable database at www.maineosa.org/irc
One video that might interest you and your students is the Maine Public Television special about the Maine Youth Voices project, which aired in May 2003. Four different groups of youth from around Maine were featured 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 Maine State Library (see enclosed flyer). For more information on Maine Youth Voices, visit www.maineosa.org/prevention/youthvoices or call Adcare at 621-2549.
Another video featuring the voices of Maine youth was produced as part of the “If You Think Most Kids Drink--Think Again” media campaign. The ten-minute video includes footage that was not used in the Public Service Announcements created for the campaign. This video includes a guide that can be used to stimulate a discussion about underage drinking. To schedule this video, contact the Information and Resource Center.
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 dependence. The Department of Education and the Office of Substance Abuse encourage the establishment of comprehensive, ongoing programs for Kindergarten through Grade 12 students. This type of program will produce the greatest impact in the areas of school tobacco, and other drug prevention and education. For more information, see the coordinated school health guidelines at www.mainecshp.com