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February 7, 2014

National Drug Fact Week Police, students, parents talk, share facts

Detective Jonathan Hoyt, a member of the Sierra Vista Police Department Community Response Team, gives a presentation on drugs and drug paraphernalia in the Colonel Smith Middle School Library Jan. 30. The session for students and parents was part of National Drug Fact Week.

When it comes to minors abusing drugs and alcohol, not only do parents weigh in, but so do the police.

Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District students, parents, faculty and staff members attended a workshop Jan. 30 at the Colonel Smith Middle School Library presented by the Sierra Vista Police Department’s Community Response Team to heighten their knowledge about drugs.

According to Rosa Peralta-Imamura, Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator, the session was a part of National Drug Fact Week, a campaign sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, where adolescents can talk to professionals and ask questions about drugs.

“As soon as I saw this campaign I contacted and met with the schools and explained to them what it was about and suggested activities where students can learn the facts about drugs,” Peralta-Imamura said.

Detectives Jonathan Hoyt and Derek Osburn from the Sierra Vista Police Department Community Response Team not only shared their knowledge on the illegal and prescription drugs they know are commonly abused, but what drug use can lead to. Hoyt explained that a lot of times people say the use of narcotics is a victimless crime, but anytime people have drugs, they often commit crimes to facilitate those drug habits.

Osburn and Hoyt’s presentation touched on drugs such as marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and the newer-known drugs like Krokodil, a derivative of morphine. During the session, Osburn passed around several types of actual drugs in evidence bags as well as drug paraphernalia, so attendees could see what they looked like if they should ever come across them.

Pictured in the foreground, Derek Osburn, Sierra Vista Police detective, arranges a table of drugs and drug paraphernalia to display to students and parents during a drug prevention presentation Jan. 30 in the Colonel Smith Middle School Library. The evening session talked about where drugs come from, how they are made and some of the dangers students and parents might not think of when exposed to them.

Hoyt described how each drug is made and comes into the country. He also focused on how Sierra Vista is a high-traffic area for drug smugglers hauling their product across the Mexican border into the United States.

“We are bordered right up against Mexico,” Hoyt pointed out. “So we get a lot of this [marijuana] that is directly transported into our city; it’s stored here and then it moves north. The issue that comes up is that we have a lot of violence because of that. For people who deal [in] drugs, it can be very profitable … they want to protect that money, and so they use violence to do so.”

The detectives went on to share stories and photos of marijuana busts made in Sierra Vista and told precautionary tales of how dangerous it is for someone to hold or hide drugs, and how it could make that individual into a victim due to the dealers involved.

Hoyt continued with advice on prescription drugs, stating if a teen was to get hooked on the medicine and all of a sudden it gets taken away, he or she might turn to illegal drugs to keep up the “high” the prescription drugs gave.

For Christa Jones, Colonel Smith Middle School principal, National Drug Fact Week was just as important for students as it was for parents.

Shannon Wise (center) and her daughters Samantha (left), 13, and Maryssa, 12, look at marijuana in a plastic bag during a drug presentation made by the Sierra Vista Police Department Community Response Team. Two detectives from the team visited the Colonel Smith Middle School Library Jan. 30 to deliver a session on drug prevention.

“I was concerned with parents and how they were going to feel about having [this presentation] brought into the school without participating so that’s how we turned it into a parent night, so they’d have the option of being here,” Jones explained.

Towards the end of the session Hoyt delivered his own thoughts to parents and how they should deal with their children’s exposure to drugs.

“Sometimes you can help them along and discipline them when necessary, but a lot of times they’re going to make their decisions, but you just need to be there to let them know what is the most appropriate action for what they’re dealing with,” he said.




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