Partnership will help reduce underage drinking and drug usage

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Piscataquis Public Health Council (PPHC) has teamed up with Piscataquis County and Dexter law enforcement and  area schools to reduce underage drinking and cut down on drug abuse and marijuana use.

    The Piscataquis County Sherriff’s Office and police departments in Dover-Foxcroft, Greenville, Brownville, Milo and Dexter have teamed up with PPHC, schools and Public Engines to launch eTip, a program that will allow community members to notify police about underage drinking, drug use and a range of other crimes. The program is funded by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

    eTips will début March 1 and users can submit information by text message, this will trigger a live exchange with a police dispatcher. The dispatcher will ask for details about the location of the violation, but the tipster’s name and telephone number remain anonymous to the dispatcher.

    The eTip program sends a message to our youth that we are concerned about their safety and we want to make it simple for anyone in our community to report underage drinking, drug use and any other criminal activity.

    Users of this new resource can send a text message by calling 274637(CRIMES)” on their cell phone. Then type the word “Penquis” and your message. You can also download a free mobile app called “TipSubmit Mobile,” which works on iPhone or Android services.

    All information submitted through eTip  is confidential. Tips go through a computer server in Canada  – a country with very strict privacy laws. Additionally, international communications laws require that messages be encrypted and anonymous when they return to the local dispatch center.

    According to the 2011 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, more than a quarter of high school students in Maine reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. One in seven high school students reported misusing a prescription drug at least once.

    We would like students to view this as an opportunity to prevent something before it happens. It’s not about ratting someone out …. it’s about keeping our youth safe. Because it is totally anonymous it is a great resource for kids because they can feel safe in knowing that no one will know who they are when they send a tip.

    Even though eTip does focus on underage drinking and substance abuse prevention, it can be used by anyone to report any kind of criminal or unsafe activity.

    If you would like more information about the eTip campaign please contact Lisa Kingsbury at the PPHC at 564-4184 or The PPHC is a Healthy Maine Partnership.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.