HC3 debuts anonymous tip line

Staff report

Healthy Choices Caring Communities, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, is offering residents a SPEAKOUT tip line as an opportunity to anonymously report suspected or known incidents involving underage substance use.

The tip line will go live at the end of September and provide an opportunity to create and continue a culture in which underage substance use is reported, thus decreasing and preventing harm to area youth. The SPEAK OUT tip line allows individuals of any age to report via text messaging or mobile app suspected or known underage parties and other criminal activity.

To report via text, text SPEAKOUT to 274637 (CRIMES). The mobile app, TipSubmit Mobile, for a smart phone or tablet, is available as a free download in the ITunes or Google Play stores.

“As a law enforcement professional, I know that the vast majority of our youth are making healthy choices when it comes to underage drinking and substance use,” said Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet. “But I am also aware that many youth and adults will not call law enforcement when they know about youth not making these same healthy choices for fear of reprisals. The SPEAKOUT Tip line allows anyone to text or submit via app information to local law enforcement information in regards to illegal activity with or without leaving their name.”

Torbet stressed that the tip line is not to be used for emergencies. He said residents should continue to contact 911 for emergency situations.

“It is our hope that this valuable tool becomes the norm for both youth and adults alike to help address the issue of underage substance use in our county,” he said of the tip line.

According to the 2014 Youth Health Assessment, 22 percent of Fulton County high school youth report having had an alcoholic drink in the past 30 days. The connection between using alcohol as a teen and other high risk behaviors such as sexual intercourse, using tobacco, and marijuana, and the misuse of prescription medications is significant. By reporting underage substance use, the community is working to prevent additional harm to youth beyond alcohol use.

Healthy Choices Caring Communities, an initiative of the Fulton County Family & Children First Council, is a group of community members working together to prevent and reduce youth use of alcohol and other drugs in Fulton County. To become a member of the HC3, or for more information, contact Beth Thomas, Project Director, at 419-337-0915 or visit www.HC3Partnership.org.

Staff report