Preventing Substance Misuse

Healthy Acadia engages in multiple initiatives to prevent substance misuse and to promote healthy choices, including:

Drug Free Communities
Alcohol Misuse Prevention
Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention
Safe Drug Disposal
Youth Marijuana Use Prevention
"e-tip" Program

NEW! Down East Recovery Supports Guide, 2016 Edition

Drug Free Communities

Healthy Acadia is dedicated to building communities that support children and adults to live healthy, resilient lives free from substance abuse. To build on these efforts, Healthy Acadia received a Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant to reduce and prevent substance abuse, particularly among youth.

Heathy Acadia's Hancock County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Coalition is an alliance of community members and local organizations who are dedicated to empowering youth and reducing underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs across Hancock County. Youth substance use and abuse is a serious concern in our communities, and the DFC Coalition is working on a variety of initiatives to prevent substance abuse and to help children and youth thrive.

Through the DFC program, Healthy Acadia supports schools, organizations and programs to carry out community-level change. As a result, we all work together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy, and drug-free Hancock County. If you are interested in becoming involved in this Coalition, please contact Denise Black at 667-7171 or

The Drug Free Communities Support Program is a federal grant funded through the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information, contact:

Denise Black at 667-7171 or

Alcohol Misuse Prevention

Responsible Beverage Server & Seller Trainings:
Healthy Acadia hosts Responsible Beverage Server & Seller (RBS) Trainings for alcohol retail establishments, restaurants and bars across Hancock County. The trainings provide staff with knowledge to better prevent violations of liquor laws and serve alcohol safely, with an emphasis on preventing underage and high-risk drinking.

Participants will learn how to ensure that safe business practices are implemented within the workplace. Healthy Acadia staff will walk participants through numerous possible scenarios, examine fake identification cards, reviews excerpts from the Maine liquor laws, and discusses all the factors that go into making alcohol handling a safe business. For information about upcoming trainings, or to schedule a training for your employees, in Hancock County, email Tara Young or call 667-7171.  In Washington County, email Angela Fochesato or call 255-3741.

Alcohol helps people assess their alcohol consumption patterns to determine if their drinking is likely to be harming their health or increasing their risk for future harm. Through education and referral, the site provides opportunities to those whose drinking is harmful or hazardous to take positive action, and informs all adults who consume alcohol about guidelines and caveats for lower-risk drinking. For more information, contact Tara at

Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention

Prescription drug abuse or misuse occurs when a medication is not used according to a doctor’s directions, is taken by someone other than for whom it was prescribed, or taken for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed.

Prescription drug abuse is rampant across the nation, as well as in Maine. In Maine, more people died from prescription drug overdoses than in car crashes in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The abuse and misuse of prescription pain medications can result in serious consequences including addiction, negative health effects, drug-related crime, death, and the resounding impact on the lives of users and their families.

Healthy Acadia is committed to coordinating efforts to address prescription drug misuse across the region, including increasing awareness about the epidemic, sharing information about how community members can make a difference, and providing interventions to reduce prescription drug misuse.

Our work covers several areas, including:

  • Increasing registration in and active usage of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) among providers in health and dental care practices
  • Increasing awareness around prescription drug misuse
  • Increasing awareness about safe storage and disposal of prescription drugs
  • Providing community-based interventions to reduce the impact and availability of prescription drugs

Maine Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse Trends in Maine, State Epidemiological Profile, 2012

Safe Medicine Disposal for ME Program

Maine’s Prescription Monitoring Program

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Lyles at 667-7171 or

Safe Drug Disposal

It is critical to safely dispose of medications for the health and safety of our communities. Safe drug disposal:

  • improves the health of our communities
  • reduces the potential for drug misuse & abuse, and drug diversion
  • protects our environment, including our water supply

In the spring of 2013, Healthy Acadia worked in partnership with the police departments of Bar Harbor, Bucksport, Calais, Eastport & Southwest Harbor, and the Hancock County and Washington County Sheriff's Offices, to install new drop boxes throughout Hancock and Washington counties.

Drop boxes are now available for safe, anonymous disposal of prescription drugs, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at these locations:

  • Bar Harbor Police Department*
    37 Firefly Lane, Bar Harbor; (207) 288-3391
  • Bucksport Police Department*
    89 Franklin Street, Bucksport; (207) 469-7951
  • Calais Police Department*
    312 North Street, Calais; (207) 454-2751
  • Eastport Police Department*
    28 Water Street, Eastport; (207) 853-4553

  • Hancock County Sheriff’s Office**
    50 State Street, Suite 10, Ellsworth; (207) 667-7575

  • Southwest Harbor Police Department*
    26 Village Green Way, Southwest Harbor; (207) 244-7911
  • Washington County Sheriff Department*
    47 Court Street, Machias; (207) 255-3434

* Made possible with support from Healthy Acadia's Drug Free Communities Grant
** Previously existing

If I can't reach a drop box?:

Drop boxes are the best and safest way to dispose of medications. However, if that is not possible, here are some alternative guidelines:

  • Follow medication disposal instructions on the label if given, including flushing instructions for some medications
  • DO NOT pour medications down a drain
  • Dissolve solid medications with water in a resealable plastic bag
  • Add an undesirable substance such as kitty litter, sawdust, or coffee grounds to the plastic bag with the medications to help prevent children or animals from eating, seal the bag, and throw it away in the trash
  • Remember to remove all personal information from the medication container before disposing of them

For more information about safe drug disposal options, download this flyer from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

For more information, contact:

In Hancock County: Elizabeth at 667-7171 or

In Washington County: Terri at 255-3741 or

Youth Marijuana Use Prevention

Marijuana use has a number of negative effects on health, which can include: exposure to known carcinogens (marijuana smoke contains up to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke), impaired ability to create new memories, episodes of acute psychosis (if a large dose is ingested), and increased risk of chronic cough and bronchitis.

Frequent and prolonged marijuana use can result in addiction. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people who start using in their teens become dependent. Additionally, marijuana use can lead to exposure to and use of other illicit drugs.

Marijuana use has significant effects on teens and young adults. Marijuana use impairs the ability of a person to form new memories and to shift focus. It also disrupts balance and coordination. As a result, learning, doing complicated tasks, participating in athletics, driving, and other activities are affected. The negative effects on attention, memory and learning can continue for days or even weeks after the acute effects wear off. Therefore, young people who use marijuana frequently may experience reduced functioning in attention, memory and learning most or all of the time. This can lead to lower grades, dropping out of school, and impaired social development.

Healthy Acadia works to prevent youth marijuana use through increased education about the risks, and through interventions to reduce use.

Strategies include:

  • Coordinating parent educational meetings to provide information about the effects of marijuana use on teens and young adults.
  • Disseminating materials on the effects of youth marijuana use through a variety of channels, including conventional and electronic media.
  • Providing educational opportunities for teachers and counselors about marijuana research findings.

For more information, contact:

Maria Donahue at 667-7171 or

"e-tip" Program

“E-tip” is a text-a-tip program funded by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health which allows community members to anonymously notify law enforcement about underage drinking and/or illegal drug use. Using the “E-tip” service, individuals can submit information about underage drinking or illegal drug use via an anonymous text message, which triggers a live exchange with a police dispatcher. The dispatcher will ask for specifics about the location of the violation and the people involved, but the tipster’s name and telephone number will remain anonymous.

The “e-tip” program in Hancock and Washington counties is modeled after similar “etip” programs in use in Maine and across the country. To use the service, tipsters send a text from any cell phone to: 274637 (CRIMES). Users must enter their county-specific keyword, in upper case letters – "Hancock" for Hancock County; “WCTIP” for Washington County - at the beginning of their text message in order for it to be forwarded to the correct dispatch location.

How "e-tip" works

The e-tip program is used nationwide to help keep communities safe by encouraging individuals to report underage drinking and other dangerous activities. Tipsters type their local keyword - "Hancock" in Hancock County; or "WCTIP" in Washington County, at the beginning of a text message sent to 274637 (CRIMES), followed by their message about underage drinking activity.

•The tip is immediately encrypted as it goes to a server in Canada before being directed back to the correct dispatch center, as identified by the keyword entered, preserving the anonymity of the Tipster.

•2-way conversation begins between the Tipster and Dispatch, no identifying questions are ever asked.

The Tipster can end the conversation at any time.

•Smart phone owners can download the TipSubmit Mobile application.

•Once conversation stops between Tipster and Dispatch, the tip is forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement officer on duty.

Benefits to the Service:

•Multiple law enforcement agencies in a single county can view tips received by the county dispatch center that might relate to cases in progress or known individuals.

•Cases, dispositions, and notes are logged on each case so the Tipster and the sponsoring coalition can see whether the tip was credible and what it led to in terms of charges laid or other adjustments.

•The perception in the community that underage drinking activity will be reported is increased, and will hopefully lead to reductions in underage alcohol use.

Our communities encourage and support lifestyles free from substance abuse. Adults model responsible behaviors, and families learn the skills needed to raise strong, resilient, healthy children.
Healthy Acadia works with community partners to prevent underage drinking and alcohol misuse.