Teens and parents gathered around Sergeant Brian Newsome and Dixie, the Morrow County Sheriff’s office K-9, after the Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention (DAAP) Red Ribbon program at Mount Gilead High School last week.
Cardington 9th grader Lesley Reed commented that drugs like heroin and meth are a lot closer than she thought. She also learned a lot about common street names for drugs. She was shocked that drugs are sometimes referred to as “broccoli,” or “mushrooms” in slang terms.
“It’s very important that people know about these things,” said Reed, who will get extra class credit for attending the event.
Mount Gilead freshman Deanie Smith said it’s important for everyone to know how bad the effects of drugs are. Freshman Joshua Brown said he believes there are some Mount Gilead kids who use drugs. But he believes they “aren’t always the ones you might think.”
“You can’t tell until you really know someone from the inside what people might use drugs,” Brown said.
Brown came with his friend, Gavin Robinson, who was surprised there wasn’t any information about the Marijuana Issue 3 at the event.
Sergeant Newsome spoke about the drugs law enforcement officers are seeing now in Morrow County. He spoke of the presence of marijuana, methamphetamines, bath salts and heroin in the county.
“Knox and Morrow County are getting slammed with bath salts,” stated Newsome.
Newsome called bath salts a “mind altering drug” and said it’s “very scary” to see people under the influence of the drug. They are paranoid, often suicidal, and often have dark, sunken eyes. He also spoke in great detail about the addiction and effects of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and prescription drugs.
How are the drugs available? They can be ordered online and delivered by mail or at drop offs. Newsome also spoke of indications and signs of addiction. He said it’s important to watch for changes in emotions or behavior. Work and study quality can often change and go downhill. Secretive behavior, avoiding friends and family, hyperactivity or excitability can be signs of drug addiction. Physical signs might be small bruises, scabs on the face and arms or slurred speech.
Newsome encourages people to report concerns if there are signs of a lot of coming and going of cars at a location in the neighborhood. Suspected drug activity can be reported anonymously.
Inspirational speaker, Annette Johnson of Marion spoke of her struggle with alcohol and drugs as a teenager. She told the harrowing story of living on the streets of Chicago for three years as an alcoholic, an addict and falling into prostitution. She said it was the love of her father and friends at a shelter that gradually brought her out of addiction.
Students and parents alike were surprised there weren’t more people attending. Most said they expected a really big crowd. They appreciated the information given and felt it was something many more should hear.
Newsome gave the number to report any concerns of drug activity at: 419-946-4444 (Ext.5922). Callers will remain anonymous. For information on the Morrow County Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention group (DAAP), you can contact Ashley Glass at 419-946-2009 Ext.661. DAAP plans to hold four events every year. The next one will be for middle school students.
Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected].