Bangor Students Take Part in Alcohol Awareness Program 

The Maine Department of Education declared today their annual Alcohol Awareness Day.Eighth graders at the Doughty and Cohen Schools in Bangor heard a talk by a former ER nurse on things she saw when kids their age were involved in drugs and alcohol.”I expected it to be just a general what drugs are, how to avoid them and stuff like that,” said Grace Perron, an 8th Grader at the James F. Doughty School in Bangor. “But it wasn’t like that. It was the effects they had on people,””I don’t lecture, I don’t give statistics and it’s also not a scared straight or an in your face approach,” said Emergency Room nurse, Linda Dutil, R.N. “It’s very straight forward and positive and engaging, and I share personal stories which make a huge impact, but then I also share these intervention skills. I actually show and explain and demonstrate to the students how to get help for their friends if they’re in trouble.”One of the things she demonstrated was what would happen if one of these kids ended up in the emergency room because of an overdose on drugs or alcohol. She made an impact by bringing two students on stage with her.”Those tubes were scary,” said Peter Kemble, and 8th grader at the Doughty School. He was one of the students brought on stage for the stomach pumping demonstration. “They were big and I really would not want one of them in me, so it’s just I think those are going to be powerful, it’s going to last on people.”Only 8th graders were at the presentation, and it was geared toward things that will actually happen in their lives, like a story Dutil shared about teenagers hanging out after school playing video games, when one of them decided to drink beer in his parents refrigerator. It ended with him being sick and taken to the hospital.”This was different,” said Perron. “I liked it a lot more than the other presentations we have looked at because I think it affected most of the kids sitting in the audience because they realized what really happens to them if they do this instead of just hearing it.”Kemble agreed it will leave an impact. “This one showed, it gave pictures and proof of what’s going to happen to you if you really do use these and what they’re going to do at the hospital to treat you and it really was powerful, it was a powerful presentation.”Dutil travels around the country giving presentations to students. It started 15 years ago when a Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy contacted her after three eighth grade girls overdosed. He wanted Dutil to talk to other students in straight facts about what could happen if they took drugs and alcohol. “So I did that and it was a moment in life, I could see those faces and I realize at that time, I had an opportunity to make a difference in young people’s lives in a whole other capacity from the emergency room”Now, she’s spreading her message to kids everywhere.For more information about Linda Dutil, R.N. or her program visit her website here