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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 23

 

INFORMATIONAL LETTER:  23

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 of Education; and Kimberly Johnson, Director, Office of Substance Abuse, Department of Health and Human Services

DATE:      September 18, 2006

RE:          MRSA Title 20-A, Section 4803, Sub-section 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 the society.  The Commissioner shall prepare appropriate materials for this observation.

            Alcohol Awareness Day will be December 4, 2006, as part of Maine’s Alcohol Awareness Week, December 4-8, 2006.  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 207-287-8900, TTY 1-800-606-0215 or e-mail at osa.ircosa@maine.gov .  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 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 that was part of 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.

The Maine Youth Empowerment and Policy Group (YEP) has developed the Youth Alcohol Prevention Project, suitable for any school youth group interested in a pro-active role in combating underage drinking in their community. This project raises local awareness about the marketing of alcohol to youth and provides a specific way for local retailers to partner with youth to change marketing practices. Youth groups are encouraged to work with local retailers to adopt theMaine Alcohol Retailer’s Local Marketing Code of Conduct, a tool to raise awareness and change actual marketing practices. YEP will provide interested youth groups with: 1) a youth produced video, 2) copies of the code of conduct, 3) instructions for engaging retailers, and 4) signs to reward cooperating stores. For additional information please go to www.neias.org/YEP/ or contact Adrienne Gallant at 626-3615.

            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 area of school tobacco and other drug prevention and education.  For more information, see the coordinated school health guidelines at http://www.mainecshp.com