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INFORMATIONAL LETTER:   31  

POLICY CODE:   IHAMA

 

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

FROM:     Susan Gendron, Commissioner, Department of Education; and Kimberly Johnson, Director, Office of Substance Abuse, Department of Health and Human Services

DATE:     September 7, 2005

RE:          Title 20-A MRSA Section 4803 (5), Alcohol Awareness Day

                                      Reserve your materials now to ensure availability

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 society.   The commissioner shall prepare appropriate materials for this observance.

            Alcohol Awareness Day will be December 5, 2005, as part of Maine’s Alcohol Awareness Week, December 5-9, 2005.   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 Health and Human Services at 1-800-499-0027, or 287-8900, TTY 1-800-215-7604 or at osa.ircosa@maine.gov.   Age-appropriate materials that 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 have 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 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 for the campaign, and a guide that can be used to stimulate a discussion about underage drinking.   To reserve this video, contact the Information and Resource Center.

            Beyond observing Alcohol Awareness Day, it is essential that Maine students be provided with education 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 area of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention and education.   For more information, see the coordinated school health guidelines at http://www.mainecshp.com .