Healthy Androscoggin, along with community partners in Project Unite, and the Lewiston-Auburn Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, is working toward reducing substance abuse in our county.
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 also sponsors retailer server/seller trainings to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. If you are a retailer and would like to have staff participate in the State-approved Server Seller trainings, contact Scott Gagnon by email or 795-2120 to register.
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.
The Families in Action parent workshop provides parents with tips and strategies for enhancing family communication and for preventing their children from getting involved with alcohol and other drugs.
One approach to prevent prescription drug and medicine abuse is to prevent individuals from accessing prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to them. 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.
Healthy Androscoggin distributes information and organizes educational sessions around youth marijuana use prevention. Topics include information explaining the difference between state and federal law. Healthy Androscoggin can also coordinate trainings for teachers and counselors that shares the latest research on the impact of marijuana on adolescent brain development.
Healthy Androscoggin’s Substance Abuse Prevention Manager, Scott Gagnon, recently 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBbBilmBLuk
Contact Substance Abuse Prevention Manager, Scott Gagnon by email or 795-2120 for more information on how to bring a training or education session to your area or organization.
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 Scott Gagnon by email or 795-2120.
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 Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse (MAPSA) and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). Both organizations 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 logos below to go to the respective websites to learn more about each organization.
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.
- Parents. The Anti-Drug: www.theantidrug.com
- Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (formerly OSA): www.maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/osa/
- Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse: www.masap.org/site/mapsa.asp
- Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America: www.cadca.org
- Above the Influence: abovetheinfluence.com
- Alcohol Justice (Formerly Marin Institute): www.alcoholjustice.org
- National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: www.niaaa.nih.gov
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: www.teens.drugabuse.gov
- AlcoholScreening.org: www.alcoholscreening.org