Substance Abuse

Healthy Androscoggin is the Drug Free Communities coalition serving Androscoggin County.  The overall goal is to increase community collaboration to reduce youth substance abuse.  This infographic explains how the Drug Free Communities model works.

Project Unite! is the community-based substance abuse prevention task force that guides the DFC work.  Our top priority areas for preventing and reducing youth substance abuse are underage drinking, youth marijuana use, and youth prescription drug abuse.  Learn more about our work in each of these areas below:

Underage Drinking

Healthy Androscoggin addresses underage drinking in the community through strategies to reduce retail and social access to alcohol. This includes supporting the Androscoggin County Alcohol Enforcement Team to conduct retail underage drinking law compliance checks and party patrols.

Healthy Androscoggin is currently able to provide retailer server/seller trainings to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors.  If you are interested in learning more about a retailer server/seller training, please contact Corrie Brown at brownco2@cmhc.org  or 795-5990.

To learn about alternative State-approved Server/Seller trainings, including online trainings, go to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery operations at http://www.maine.gov/dafs/bablo/liquor_license/training.htm

Another strategy is to educate and share information with parents and adults on the risks to youth from underage drinking. The Parents Who Host, Lose the Most campaign educates parents on the laws, risks, and consequences of hosting underage drinking parties.  Additionally, Healthy Androscoggin can provide education to students in schools regarding the health effects and dangers in using alcohol.

Marijuana

Healthy Androscoggin distributes information and provides free trainings and presentations on marijuana, its impact on youth and public health.  The most recent Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (2015) indicates that 33% of Androscoggin County high school students have used marijuana. Topics include impairment, impact on health, marijuana addiction, impacts on development and future success, and effects on the brain.  These presentations can be provided to multiple audiences including parents, parent organizations, community leaders, civic organizations, teachers and educational professionals, and many others.

Contact Substance Abuse Prevention Manager, Corrie Brown at 795-5990 for more information on how to bring a training or education session to your area or organization.

In the Spring of 2013, former Healthy Androscoggin’s Substance Abuse Prevention Manager, Scott Gagnon, spoke at a Community Education Statement on the impacts of youth marijuana use on public health.  Scott talked about the risks of youth marijuana use to their safety and success.  View the statement here:

 

Prescription Drug Abuse

One approach to prevent prescription drug and medicine abuse is to prevent individuals from accessing prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to them.  According to the 2015 MIYHS, over 400 Androscoggin County youth have abused a prescription drug. Healthy Androscoggin partners with several community organizations to sponsor a twice annual medicine take-back day. This is an event where residents can clean out expired, unused, and unwanted medicines and have them safely and securely disposed in a way that provides minimal impact on the local environment.  Local events are part of the National Take-Back Initiative coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Healthy Androscoggin also plays a leadership role in educating parents and other adults on properly securing medicines they are currently taking. Parents are also encouraged to role model safe medicine handling to adolescents and teens, including following doctor’s orders when it comes to dosage. Click the link above to learn how you can help prevent prescription drug abuse at home.

Synthetic Drugs

Recently, there has been much coverage in the news about the rise of synthetic drugs such as “K2″, “Spice”, and “Bath Salts“. Healthy Androscoggin, in partnership with the Lewiston-Auburn Public Health Committee and the Lewiston-Auburn Safe Schools/Healthy Students hosted a strategic planning forum in February 2012 to develop a proactive prevention plan to address these emerging drug trends. A major component of this plan was to create and enhance communication channels to be able to quickly share information across sectors to enable a nimble and comprehensive community response to new threats to public health posed by these new breeds of drugs.

School Substance Abuse Policy

Healthy Androscoggin has expertise to provide schools in Androscoggin County with technical assistance for the review and/or revision of school or district substance abuse policy. Having a current and updates school substance abuse policy is an important tool for preventing and reducing substance abuse among students. Healthy Androscoggin has staff who have been fully trained to utilize the Your Substance Abuse Policy: A Comprehensive Guide for Schoolscreated by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. If your school would like to receive technical assistance using the SAHMS model, please contact Corrie Brown at 795-5990.

State and National Partners

Substance abuse is an issue that is not contained by geographic borders.  Some solutions require action on a state and national level.  In addition, coalitions in other parts of Maine and the United States may develop approaches that can be useful here in Androscoggin County.  Healthy Androscoggin is an active member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) who support members with technical assistance, training, and other support needs, while also helping to create a unified state and national voice for substance abuse prevention in public policy.  Please click the logo below to go to the CADCA to learn more.

CADCA member of logo

Links and Resources

Below are links to federal and state organizations with more information on substance abuse and substance abuse prevention including materials for youth, parents, schools, community organizations, and professionals.