Underage drinking is a problem nationwide, and also one that law enforcement here in the County are faced with. It was last Friday that a party of 60 people including underage drinkers in Caribou was busted, thanks to the collaboration of a County Task Force dedicated to curbing underage drinking. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports…
Chief of Caribou Police Dept. Michael Gahagan said, “One individual, his test was an 18, twice the legal amount if you were drinking.”
That individual was just one of 60 busted at an underage drinking pit party June 27th. It was in a wooded area off the Albair Road in Caribou, and these parties in the woods aren’t too uncommon in the County.
“We have individuals they know it’s off the beaten path, in this instance they gathered a lot of firewood pallets to make a bonfire, they all gather there at a certain time,” said Gahagan.
But by 11 o’clock that night the party was over- thanks to the Aroostook County Underage Drinking Taskforce. It’s a collaboration of 16 County and state law enforcement agencies as well as Community Voices, Drug-Free Communities, and CADET- dedicated to enforcing liquor laws and preventing underage drinking.
” The smaller departments may not have the availability of a lot of people along with the Sheriff’s Department or the State Police, so we can call in other departments for man power,” said Gahagan.
It was that man power that led to 15 charges of underage drinking, and the prevention of what could’ve been a potentially tragic situation. Alcohol abuse by both adults and underage users is a big drug problem in the County and the state that serves as a gateway to other drugs.
Community Voices Project Manager Michelle Plourde Chasse said, “There’s no young person that wakes up and says I’m going to wake up and do bath salts today, or I’m going to take a needle and I’m going to use heroin but many teens on a daily basis are faced with the decision of do I try tobacco today, do I try alcohol or do I try marijuana.”
This year Aroostook County is receiving 15 thousand dollars under the Underage Drinking Laws grant to continue working on underage drinking prevention in the County.