Underage drinking is a problem in homes from Kittery to Houlton, from Calais to Norway, from Portland to Farmington. All Maine teens are at risk of underage drinking, and all Maine parents need to help keep their teens from underage drinking. In fact, 54% of Maine teens admit that they have tried alcohol.
Much research in the substance abuse field has focused on identifying risk and protective factors that are correlated with the use of substances and related problems. Risk factors contribute to the likelihood of problem behaviors. Protective factors promote health and well-being and build resiliency. These factors, both risk and protective, exist in the following domains: peer/individual, family, school, community, and society. Effective prevention programs employ multiple strategies in multiple domains.
Risk and Protective factors are important in prevention of substance abuse. Here are a few 'protective factors' that parents and care givers have a direct impact on:
• strong and positive family bonds
• parental monitoring of children's activities and peers
• clear rules of conduct that are consistently enforced within the family
• and involvement of parents in the lives of their children
RVR prevents alcohol use by youth in a number of ways, mainly through reducing access to alcohol and increasing awareness of the consequences of underage drinking or providing alcohol to minors.
The main focus of RVR’s prevention work is to use environmental strategies. While traditional prevention has tended to focus on individual strategies, aimed at convincing individuals to choose not to use alcohol or other drugs, environmental strategies are prevention strategies that focus on changing conditions in the environment. These strategies are an essential part of any comprehensive prevention plan, because there are a number of conditions in the legal, physical, social, and economic environment that may make it easier for youth to use substances. Examples of such environmental conditions include inconsistent enforcement of the laws, easy access to alcohol or other drugs, aggressive alcohol advertising and media messages that link drug use with being "cool," and a social environment that encourages alcohol or other drug use as a rite of passage.
In order to increase awareness about the harms of alcohol abuse, RVR distributes informational materials to community partners such as businesses, libraries, and schools.