The Youth Empowerment and Policy Project (YEPP) was established in 2001 with the primary goal of involving Maine’s youth in the effort to decrease underage drinking. The group consisted of a diverse group of students from around the state trained in public speaking, facilitation, and policy issues. The philosophy of the project was that, because underage drinking is a problem affecting the youth population, the most effective way to analyze and improve the environment is to directly involve the youth in the discussion.
Over the past eleven years the group worked with local communities, leaders in the substance abuse field like former Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe and the Maine Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS), as well as each other, to tackle projects that are centered on the underage drinking problem in Maine. The group produced and distributed the following findings and recommendations aimed at reducing underage drinking. The information has been disseminated both locally and nationally.
SCHOOL BASED POLICY TOOLS
1. GENERAL POLICY: Through research based methods the youth group established key findings, recommendations and easy to use action steps for schools to consider when strengthening policies. Get started in your community today!!! Download the general school policy tool.
For more guidance on school substance abuse policies including a Self-Assessment Checklist and sample policy click here.
2. ATHLETIC POLICY: This tool assists school policy makers in strengthening and enforcing school alcohol and drug policy, specifically for student athletes. What can you do in your local community? Download a copy of the Athletic Policy tool and start a conversation with your local school. As a result of the groups research, the Athletic Policy Findings and Recommendations were considered by the Maine Department of Education for inclusion in the Maine Learning Standards and recommended to districts statewide as a model upon which to develop athletic policy.
LAW ENFORCEMENT POLICY TOOL
Combined with the findings of their own research and gaining critical knowledge from a cross-section of experts in the field of law enforcement, the youth group prepared findings and recommendations to assist law enforcement agencies in strengthening enforcement policies and procedures. Download a copy of the findings and start working with local law enforcement agencies! The publication was endorsed by the Commissioner Michael Cantara from the Department of Public Safety and as a result of the document, youth were invited to work with the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and the State Attorney General’s Office to develop a model law enforcement policy, which was adopted by the Maine Police Chiefs’ Association in 2005.
ALCOHOL RETAILER POLICY TOOLS
1. EFFECTS OF ADVERTISING: This document contains the results of the youth group’s independent statewide survey of 500 youth on the effects of alcohol advertising on underage youth and corresponding recommendations for change. Download your copy today!
2. WORKING WITH LOCAL RETAILERS: This document contains recommendations for local retailer alcohol marketing, its effects on under age drinking, and recommended forms and procedures to assist communities in making practical interventions. Download your copy today!
3. DEVELOPING A CODE OF CONDUCT: This document is intended to help local, statewide, and national groups replicate an Alcohol Retailer’s Marketing Code of Conduct. The code of conduct is a set of guidelines to help retailers make concrete changes in their stores to reduce the impact of alcohol advertising on underage youth. Download your copy today!
COMMUNITY POLICY TOOLS
1. SOCIAL HOSTING: YEPP administered a survey in various regions throughout Maine, receiving 393 youth and 430 adult surveys, to learn more about experiences and acceptance levels around social hosting in the state. YEPP found social hosting is a problem caused by lack of knowledge within a community, lack of enforcement, lack of communication, and a difference in understanding between youth and adults. YEPP developed a way to begin the endeavor for healthier communities including a list of resources and worked with our Healthy Maine Partnership coalitions to disseminate the findings and recommendations to their local community, using a variety of tools and promotional items. To learn more download the findings and recommendations!
2. MIXING BEHAVIOR: This recently released document lists the common trends in mixing behavior. Mixing is when an alcoholic beverage is combined with another substance (type of drug) — prescription pills, energy drinks (for high caffeine content), marijuana, etc. YEPP members compiled this information from focus group data, and the outside research conducted by YEPP to correlate with those trends in a form intended to enlighten communities regarding the dangers of mixing. Download a copy of the results!
Youth Empowerment and Policy Project
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