A Special Edition: Prevention is Everyone's Business
Brought to you by the One Maine One Portland Coalition &
Portland's Overdose Prevention Project
City of Portland Public Health Division, Health & Human Services Department

No matter the time of year, alcohol and drug abuse has the abilitiy to impact families and communities throughout the world.  Despite the risks and dangers posed by alcohol and drug use, talking about these issues does not need to be all bad news and it is important to keep in mind that we all have the power to foster awareness and create change. 
In this "Special Edition E-newsletter" you will find information regarding warning signs of alcohol and drug abuse as well as ways that we all can get involved to save lives and support families--the best part is that no one has to do it alone!
The One Maine One Portland Coalition &
Overdose Prevention Project Members

Special Edition Topics
Defining Prevention
Staying Connected
Caring for Our Community
What to Look For
Why A Special Edition?
This special edition newsletter is in being brought to you in response  to the recent alcohol-related deaths in Maine in the hopes of sharing the importance of a collective community response to these tragedies.  We would also like to note how important it is for teens and adults to be aware of the signs of an overdose and how to respond to them.  Please read on.
What is Prevention...
...And How Can It Work for Portland? Click Here for the MW Definition Page
To "prevent," as defined by Merriam-Webster, is:
  • to be in readiness for (as an occasion)
  • to meet or satisfy in advance
  • to act ahead of
  • to keep from happening or existing

Everyone reading this has the opportunity to be involved in prevention in some sense of the word but it is up to all of us to determine how to define prevention for our specific and unique communities while maintaining the level of connectedness that must remain the backbone of prevention

When we commit ourselves to "act ahead of" alcohol and drug-related tragedies in the hopes of "keeping them from happening or existing," we are making a decision to keep our communities safe.  When we make this choice, we learn that we are prevention.
What Can We Do...
...And When Can We Do It? question mark

Parents, families and community members are all very busy but the beauty of prevention is that it thrives on fluctuation and diversity; it's a process with many facets and many opportunities.  Prevention must be fluid because while one strategy works for one family, it may not work for another; additionally, when looking for 'warning signs' of alcohol and drug abuse, signs one teen exhibits may be less extreme than another yet both remain worthy of attention through the lens of prevention.

Prevention research shows time and again that even the slightest positive interaction between caring adults and young people can reduce the risk of drug and alcohol abuse.  Read on for practical and concrete ways parents and families can get connected and stay connected!

From the CDC:
"10 Quick Tips for Getting Involved Today and Staying Connected Tomorrow"

1. Schedule time for you and your child

2. Tell your child when they do something right

3. Prove you're listening by asking questions

4. Post a family calendar

5. Create rules, and then enforce them

6. Regularly share a meal with your teen or preteen

7. Share your day

8. Write your child a thank-you note

9. Ask your child for advice

10. Give your child family responsibilities

Click Here FMI about "Got A Minute"

CASA's 2006 report The Importance of Family Dinners III found that compared to kids who have fewer than three family dinners per week, children and teens who have 5-7 family dinners per week are:
  • At 70 percent lower risk for substance abuse;
  • Half as likely to try cigarettes or marijuana;
  • One third less likely to try alcohol;
  • Half as likely to get drunk monthly.
Why We're Concerned...
...youth picAnd What Are We Doing About It?
We're concerned about youth and about our community in general but just because we are concerned doesn't mean that we have to live in fear that we don't have the tools to reduce the risks that alcohol and drug abuse present in our communities. 
Through our diverse partnerships and individual objectives, we are certain that we can collectively build our relationships and strenghten our partnerships as we work to promote existing programs that support parents as we navigate the path to prevention for our great city.

Read on for more information about prevention strategies, local and national support efforts as well as tips on what to do if you suspect someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning.

What to Look For...
warning sign...Here are Some Warning Signs Associated with Excessive Alcohol Use...
Could a young person you know develop a drinking problem?  Kids at highest risk for alcohol-related problems are those who:
  • Begin using alcohol or other drugs before the age of 15
  • Have a parent who is a problem drinker or an alcoholic
  • Have close friends who use alcohol and/or other drugs
  • Have been aggressive, antisocial, or hard to control from an early age
  • Have experienced childhood abuse and/or other major traumas
  • Have current behavioral problems and/or are failing at school
  • Have parents who do not support them, do not communicate openly with them, and do not keep track of their behavior or whereabouts
  • Experience ongoing hostility or rejection from parents and/or harsh, inconsistent discipline.

Critical Signs for Alcohol Poisoning

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

What Should I Do If I Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning?

  • Know the danger signals
  • Do not wait for all symptoms to be present
  • Be aware that a person who has passed out may die
  • Don't try to guess the level of drunkeness

The Effects of Alcohol Poisoning on the Body

What Can Happen to Someone With Alcohol Poisoning That Goes Untreated?

  • Victim chokes on his or her own vomit
  • Breathing slows, becomes irregular, or stops
  • Heart beats irregularly or stops
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar) leads to seizures
  • Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, or death

Even if the victim lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare) is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious.

Don't be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has had too much to drink. Don't worry that your friend may become angry or embarrassed-remember, you cared enough to help. Always be safe, not sorry.

Additional OVERDOSE PREVENTION Information
It is extremely dangerous to let anyone who's been drinking or using drugs to "sleep it off."  In any kind of overdose, the presence of loud snoring can be a symptom and should not be ignored! 
Everyone has the opportunity to save a life--pass it on!

Where to Go for Help...

Mainely Parents (Day One) - 1-800-249-5506 or visit www.mainelyparents.org
Maine Parents (OSA) -

Time to Talk (The Partnership for a Drug-Free America) - A toll-free parents phone help line at 1-866-281-9944 Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST) or visit  www.timetotalk.org
Narcotics Anonymous Maine -
1-800-974-0062 or visit www.namaine.org
Alcoholics Anonymous Maine -
1-800-737-6237 or 207-774-4335 or visit www.aamaine.org


FMI about any of these topics contact City of Portland Public Health Division's Substance Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator Ronni Katz at (207) 756-8116 or rmk@portlandmaine.gov.

Click for the City of Portland's WebsiteClick for OSA's Website
OMOP Mission: To foster nurturing and healthy relationships, environments and programs that encourage positive youth development and enable all young people in Greater Portland to live substance free.


OPP Mission: To prevent drug overdoses by providing support, advocacy, education & outreach to the Portland community through positive collaborations and partnerships.