Augusta — Researchers with the state may have uncovered an explanation for the rise of drug use among Maine youth, and lawmakers are scrambling to make a change.
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“Fewer Maine kids know the song about the 16 counties in our state. About the same time the song fell out of favor in schools, drug use began a steady climb,” lead researcher Edwin Thibedeau said.
“With fewer kids practicing the simple song, drug use is rampant. There’s no question of a link,” he declared.
The song, sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle Went to Town, was once taught in almost all Maine schools in 4th grade as part of the Maine History requirement. Now, with fewer schools teaching the simple song, the results speak for themselves.
“There are 16 counties in our state,” Thibedeau explained. “Cumberland and Franklin,” he continued before being cut off by co-researcher Donna Brown.
“Sixteen counties HAS our state,” she corrected. “Cumberland and Franklin, Piscataquis and Somerset,” she told us before Thibedeau interjected.
“Piscataquis and Kennebec, not Somerset. Somerset comes after Sagadahoc,” he explained. Brown disagreed.
“No, Kennebec comes after Sagadahoc. You’re all mixed up.”
The panel of researchers recommends all students in Maine be required to learn the song now before things get even worse.
“Anecdotally, I couldn’t remember Oxford county when I’d sing it, and I found myself craving cocaine,” Brown said.
“Seems pretty open and shut to me.”