Worland Middle School Parent Night Focuses on Current Youth Drug Trends

Written by on January 16, 2019

Worland Police Department Captain Zach Newton informed and educated parents on current youth drug trends Monday evening at Worland Middle School’s parent night event.  “If it’s in the national headlines, you can bet it’s happening here.” said Captain Newton. Worland is not immune to the reality of the nation’s drug problems, in fact, as Newton’s above statement confirms, the nation’s problems are also Worland’s problems.

In a general overview to begin his presentation, Newton shared some facts about drug and alcohol impacts seen statewide. Methamphetamine arrests have tripled since 2010, marijuana arrests have increased in each year since 2014. While DUI’s involving alcohol are down, drug-impaired DUI’s are on the rise.

The prescription opioid epidemic continues to be a focus for local law enforcement. In addition to prescription drugs, officers are seeing an increase in counterfeit pills. These pills are being laced with Fentanyl in most cases, Fentanyl is a powerful opiate, ten times stronger than heroin, and carries a serious overdose risk. Prescription pill abuse can lead to more serious addiction as youth become teenagers and then adults. The new drug of choice for an estimated 4 in 5 prescription pill abusers, is heroin, according to a 2013 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Heroin presents a severe risk for users, from it’s powerful high, quick building individual tolerance and depressed respiratory functions, overdoses are common as producers and dealers often lace their product with illegally produced Fentanyl. For parents, knowing the nomenclature used by youth and dealers when talking about heroin, could lead to early intervention. Fentanyl-laced heroin goes by many names, Apache, China Girl, and China White just to highlight a few.

Marijuana is still the most commonly abused illicit drug in the country. As new legalization legislation sweeps the country, legal manufacturers who serve customers in states like Colorado and Oregon are producing more and more products with the elevated levels of the high-inducing chemical THC. As stated in Tuesday’s write up concerning the explosion in use of e-cigarettes, companies are designing delivery methods using e-cigarettes and other vaporizing devices. While not as popular as they once were, synthetic cannabanoids are still seen in drug related law enforcement searches. They go by names like Spice and K2, they resemble potpourri and are sprayed with a chemical to mimic the effects of THC, while not containing that particular compound.

While the presentation given by Chief Gabe Elliott about Juuling and E-cigarettes, and Captain Zach Newton, featuring current drug trends law enforcement are addressing should cause alarm, Elliott emphasized they were not trying to strike fear in parents, but instead to help them facilitate a conversation with their children.

At the close of his presentation on local drug issues impacting our youth, Captain Newton presented a slide that asked, “What Can You Do?” First and foremost, parents should be involved in their child’s life. Know your kids friends, what your child is doing on the weekend. Ask to review their phones, vehicles and rooms. Don’t turn a blind eye over the fear of confrontation, recognize the warning signs, or preemptively strike before an issue takes hold. The PD will also conduct a free urine screening at the parents’ request, and pending results, it can come with or without law enforcement action, at the parents request.

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