Teen drinking? Report it on ‘tip line’

Published 8:25 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Underage drinking, whether in public or private, is against the law.
One county agency is doing their part to curb the practice of teen
drinking and use of drugs.
The Southwest Alabama Behavior Health Care System has fully
implemented an anonymous tip line for reporting such behavior.
Meg Shelnutt, prevention coordinator for SABHS, said the tip-line is
now operational in the four-county area served by the agency.
“We have been working to get the tip line up and going and are happy
to have it fully operational”, Shelnutt said. “The tip line allows for
anonymous reporting of any alcohol or drug use by underage
The tip line, introduced by SABHS earlier this year, is now taking
calls reporting illegal activities by teens and passing information
along to law enforcement agencies around the county.
“The purpose of the line is to report suspicious or knowledge of any
activity related to underage drinking or drug use in the community,”
Shelnutt said. “Any information we receive through the tip line will
be passed on to the proper authorities.”
Shelnutt said the tip line is in place to help curb, and hopefully
eliminate, a variety of illegal activities that have taken place in
the past and are still happening.
“The activity reported on the tip line can include things like an
upcoming underage party being planned,” Shelnutt said. “It also
includes knowledge of alcohol sales to minors or other types of social
By making the tip line an anonymous reporting system, Shelnutt said
hopes that the agency will help with these kinds of activities
throughout the area.
“By making this anonymous tip line available, we hope to cut down on
the number of underage arrests related to alcohol and other drugs,”
Shelnutt said. “We also hope it will encourage people to report
illegal activities taking place in their community.”
In addition to gathering information on illegal activities, the agency
is also hoping to get feedback from the communities on how the tip
line works and what activities they have witnesses in their community.
“We are also hoping that residents will go online and take a survey to
let us know about underage drinking and drug use in their own
community,” Shelnutt said. “After completing the survey, responders
will be entered in a drawing for a $200 gift card at Walmart.”
Southwest Alabama Behavior Health Care Systems provides prevention
services and current prevention information throughout the agency’s
service area including Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe Counties.
To take the tip line survey, visit the prevention Website at
www.prevention.swamh.com. Shelnutt can be reached by email at
“We hope that you all are on board with helping us to make Southwest
Alabama a safer and better place for all of our youth,” Shelnutt said.