One Maine One Portland
Together We Can Prevent Substance Abuse
November 2006 - Vol 1, Issue 1
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Welcome to OMOP's email newsletter! We are so excited to be able to share our news and efforts in this streamlined and updated format. Please look over our newsletter for meeting dates, upcoming events, program info and contact information. We encourage you to sign up for our FREE newsletter and pass our information on to any other community members you feel would be interested in OMOP's mission: To reduce illegal tobacco and alcohol use among 12-to-17-year-old individuals in Portland by providing clear, consistent and effective messages and resources to Portland's children, teenagers, parents and families.

One Maine One Portland: Stand United for Prevention
OMOP meets on the second Tuesday of every month from 11:00-12:30 usually in City Hall, Room 303. All meetings are open to anyone who's interested and food is always provided. We encourage you to join us at any (or all) of our meetings! Please contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116 for more information regarding meeting locations, agenda, etc...
Reconnecting Youth (RY) is a school-based prevention program for youth in grades nine through twelve (14 to 18 years old) who are at risk for school dropout. These youth may also exhibit multiple behavior problems, such as substance abuse, aggression, depression, or suicide risk behaviors. Reconnecting Youth uses a partnership model involving peers, school personnel, and parents to deliver interventions that address the three central program goals: Decreased drug involvement Increased school performance Decreased emotional distress Students work toward these goals by participating in a semester-long high school class that involves skills training in the context of a positive peer culture. RY students learn, practice, and apply self-esteem enhancement strategies, decision-making skills, personal control strategies, and interpersonal communication techniques.

OMOP has been fortunate enough to work with Portland High and Deering High Schools to implement Reconnecting Youth. Amanda has met with both RY groups and the feedback is nothing but positive! The students report looking forward to attending the RY class as it's a very safe place to "get things off their chests." The level of trust that has been built in these groups is phenomenal. While the groups are small (roughly 5-8 students), the level of participation is high and the skills the students are gaining are essential to their school life as well as their home lives. The small group size has actually been one of the defining factors for the success of the program.

OMOP collaborates with Portland's CMCA (Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol) whose efforts are geared toward our community environment and the impact it has on youth. Read on for CMCA's updates and goals...

In the spring of 2006, two community groups, the Portland CMCA Coalition and the One Maine One Portland Coalition (OMOP), came together to develop a plan to address the issue of youth substance abuse in Portland. It is a problem with devastating consequences for youth, their families, and the city as a whole--including violence, crime, and academic failure. According to anonymous student survey data collected by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, the #1 drug of choice among Portland youth is alcohol, followed by marijuana and tobacco. The Prevention Plan was created using data from surveys and public meetings with participation from more than 700 community members and 100 local groups, as well as national and statewide information about what works and what doesn't. The Prevention Plan outlines priorities for action on two important levels: I) Supporting Healthy Youth & Families Work on this level will be led by OMOP. Priorities include increasing opportunities for youth involvement and leadership in positive activities; increasing resources and collaboration for parent education and skill-building in an environment that is supportive and accessible to all cultures; and providing more programs that involve parents and youth together. II) Building a Healthy Community Environment Work on this level will be led by CMCA. Priorities include reducing alcohol availability & accessibility to youth; strengthening community norms, especially adult attitudes, to support alcohol-free expectations for underage youth; and strengthening enforcement of underage drinking, furnishing, and hosting laws. Our goal for 2010 is to reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in the Portland community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse. Portland CMCA, and its partner OMOP, will present the final draft of the 2010 Portland Prevention Plan to the City's newly appointed Health and Recreation Committee in December, with final presentation to the full City Council in January. The draft plan is available for review and comment by contacting CMCA.

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What we've been up to... OMOP has been coordinating the "Community-wide Prevention Plan" along with CMCA (see above article on CMCA). The OMOP Steering Committee has broken up into two 'subcommittees' in order to most effectively address our plans for the Prevention Plan; these groups are the "Parent Involvement Subcommittee" and the "Individual/Peer Involvement Subcommittee." FMI on the "Parent Involvement Subcommitte," contact Amanda Edgar at 756- 8053. FMI on the "Individual/Peer Involvement Subcommitte," contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116.

Other efforts...OMOP members have recently been involved in attending the Youth Alternatives "Parenting Support Collaborative" meetings in an effort to connect service providers who work with youth and parents (in any capacity); the hope is to create an updated network that is provides support for agencies as well as for parents and youth. More updates on this group will follow... The United Way's "211" Resource database was recently launched and OMOP hopes to join with The United Way/211 in a campaign to highlight some of the great parenting resources (i.e.: those that focus on youth, substance abuse and parent involvement) that are already up and running in Portland. Additional details will be available soon...

Stay connected to OMOP's newsletter for updates from our partnering agencies! Each month we plan to highlight (and possibly interview) members and their programs in the hopes of sharing their ongoing efforts in our community. We are also hoping to include an updated calendar with activities and events for youth and families to get involved and do together!
Voices for Recovery 2006
In honor of September being "National Recovery Month," the One Maine One Portland Coalition, along with the City's Overdose Prevention Project (also coordinated by Ronni Katz), held a "Recovery & Wellness Resource Fair" at Preble Street Resource Center/Wayside Soup Kitchen. We consider this even to have been a great success with over 65 community participants and 16 service providers.

Some highlights of our event: *The City's Public Health's Health Promotion Team donated 4 $25 Hannaford gift cards for our 'raffle;' *O'Naturals Restaurant also donated a $25 gift card; *Flatbread Pizza donated 15, count 'em, 15 pizzas! *We also were able to give away calling cards to several participants. The networking with the providers was great but interaction with the participants from the community was definitley the highlight!!

We'll be sure to keep you posted on any upcoming OMOP events!

Our programs are based on the goal of empowering people to make choices that will ensure healthy and productive lives while providing options that help reduce the harm caused by drug use. Thank you for supporting the One Maine One Portland Coalition, it's members and those we serve.


Amanda Edgar and Ronni Katz
The City of Portland's One Maine One Portland Coalition

phone: Amanda - 756-8053 or Ronni - 756-8116
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