October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – Local Events
October 13, 2014

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Established by the Obama administration in 2011, this month will celebrate the most effective and fiscally responsible way to eradicate the damaging effects of substance abuse: prevention. The theme for 2014 is “Prevent, Achieve, Succeed”. Healthy Acadia and Hancock County Drug Free Communities will host and promote two events in celebration of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

On Tuesday October 21st, a FREE educational community forum will be held, “Concerning Trends in Tobacco & Marijuana: Lessons Learned from Colorado.” Bob Doyle, the Executive Director of the Colorado Education and Prevention Alliance will speak from 6:00-7:30 PM. The event will be held at the Ellsworth Elks Lodge, 317 High Street. According to Drug Free Communities Project Coordinator, Denise Black, “We are very excited to be hosting this educational community forum on the concerning topics of tobacco and marijuana, as the long-term effects of substances have great social, public health and financial implications for our local and national communities.”

Black, who attended a national conference in July, saw Doyle speak and was motivated to bring his message to Maine. “His presentation was very compelling, and highlighted the public health consequences of tobacco and marijuana use and commercialization of those products. Bob spoke eloquently on current Colorado challenges with marijuana legalization, and how broad manufacturing and branding of products are being targeted to youth.” For more information on the upcoming forum or to get involved with Drug Free Communities, please contact Denise Black at 667-7171 or denise@healthyacadia.org

Preventing underage drinking and illicit substance use takes community involvement. Working collaboratively with Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies, Healthy Acadia and Drug Free Communities will help launch the ETIPs program, which is aimed at engaging Hancock County residents in prevention efforts. ETIPS allows individuals witnessing underage drinking and/or illegal drug use to anonymously text a tip to law enforcement. The process for providing a tip is simple. The tipster will text the word "Hancock" at the beginning of a text message sent to 274637 (CRIMES) followed by their message about underage drinking/illegal drug use.

This program was made possible through funding secured from the State of Maine Enforcing Maine Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) grant. Finally, this program is supported by the generous efforts of the staff at the Hancock County Regional Communications Center. For more information on the ETIPS program, please contact MDEA Special Agent Christopher Thornton at 207-664-2443 or christopher.thornton@maine.gov

Throughout the year, Healthy Acadia promotes prevention through the federally funded Hancock County Drug Free Communities Initiative, in addition to a variety of other substance prevention efforts. Healthy Acadia is a community health coalition building vibrant communities and making it easier for all people to lead healthy lives throughout Hancock and Washington Counties. For more information about Healthy Acadia’s substance prevention efforts and other initiatives, visit www.healthyacadia.org.