“Knowledge is power,” said retired sheriff’s office Capt. Shawn Bain at the Operation Street Smart — Adult Drug Education seminar.
Bain encouraged everyone to take on the responsibility of doing something about drug use they know of or suspect.
“The big thing for me is get the drug abuse from Stage 1 — whether that’s alcohol use, tobacco use, marijuana use — don’t just look at those drugs as ‘Ah, well, that’s just something everybody does. It’s just a phase,’” he said. “Don’t turn a blind eye to those drugs because then before you know it, those drugs are now heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, one of the harder drugs, where it’s so much more difficult to get that person clean.”
Another speaker, retired sheriff’s office Sgt. Michael Powell, said the program and seminar they run, which shows the audience actual concealment methods known to be used locally, began in 2002 and has been kept up to date to keep people as informed as possible. He said the program started when they realized even many in law enforcement didn’t realize common terms and habits were actually drug-related.
“School resource officers and administrators kept calling us and asking ‘What does this mean, what does that mean?’” Powell said.
“We realized if the officers don’t know, the teachers don’t know, obviously the parents don’t know. Why did the narcotics unit keep everything so quite and secretive? We said lets take our experience and create a program that’s going to talk about the terminology, the packaging, concealment, the physiological effects and we put it together.”
Powell, who said he doesn’t believe there’s a county that isn’t struggling with drugs, said many of the drug concealment methods and contraptions are sold at local shops in broad daylight, many just don’t realize what they’re looking at.
“If you want to see what’s in your community, go to the ... paraphernalia shops, enter it there on your smart phone and you’d realize it’s kind of somewhat shocking — the gas stations, the vape shops — are they selling some of these things? Why are they selling them?”
Powell and Bain said the more educated people are, the more lives that will be saved.
“Kids know more than their parents when it comes to drug abuse and as long as that happens, we’re going to continue to lose them,” he said. “That’s why we do the training.”
“We’ve seen it devastate so many lives and so now we just have this passion that don’t want to see anymore lives ruined by this,” Bain said.