PLATTSBURGH — Area student organizations, restaurants and bars are invited to learn some helpful tips on how to prevent alcohol misuse and abuse.
Since 2004, the Training for Intervention Procedures program, known as TIPS, has helped businesses and schools in Clinton County gain valuable skills to prevent intoxication, drunken driving and underage drinking.
Jessica Mathews, project coordinator for the Drug-Free Community Support Program of the Plattsburgh Campus and Community Partnership, helped develop the local version of the national program, working alongside area police to educate any business with a liquor license.
“We work together as a collaborative community effort,” she said.
Together with the Plattsburgh Campus Community Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force, the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office STOP-DWI program, Mathews coordinates the TIPS training sessions.
“We have trainers available for on-campus meetings and community reps for businesses,” she added.
Sgt. Frank Mercier, STOP-DWI coordinator with the Sheriff’s Office, said the number of drunken-driving arrests in the county shows a need for education and understanding.
“The District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted about 500 drunken-driving cases already this year,” he told the Press-Republican. “The county averages about 600 (annually).”
He said the program focuses on how to recognize someone who may be intoxicated but also aims for prevention.
TIPS is offered free of charge, a savings of about $2,000, thanks to grants and money gained from STOP-DWI enforcement, Mercier said.
Mathews breaks the program down into three categories: university, on-premises and off-premises training.
“We offer a lot of resources for students at Plattsburgh State University and work annually with the fraternities and sororities,” she said. “We’ve also worked with the fraternities and sororities and with the athletic teams, like hockey, basketball and lacrosse.”