Parents with a Purpose tackle youth drug use
October 12, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Local parents took their knowledge about illegal drugs to a higher level Wednesday during a meeting with local law enforcement.
The meeting was organized by Parents with a Purpose, a parent group born out of the community's Rx Task Force and aimed at informing parents about issues including youth substance use.
Parents got a crash course in drugs including marijuana, ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, inhalants, cough medicine and others.
New Steamboat Springs School District School Resource Officer Blake Ingerick shared his observations about student drug use while Officer John McCartin shared his knowledge of the signs people might exhibit while on certain substances.
"There's a lot of things your body will do when you use a drug," McCartin said.
Many drugs can cause dilated pupils, a change in heart rate or blood pressure and other effects. Marijuana specifically can cause dry “cotton” mouth, thirst, lethargy and red eyes, McCartin said.
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"There's a lot of things we train officers to look for," McCartin said.
Ingerick, who joined the police force about 2 1/2 years ago and was assigned to be the new school resource officer this year, said marijuana is the drug he encounters most often at the high school.
He said young people are more frequently using concentrated types of marijuana oils and "earwax," which is extremely concentrated and small, making it easier for students to conceal than marijuana in its plant form.
The concentrated substance is heated and the vapor smoked, emitting little or no smell like what is usually associated with marijuana.
"It's a lot more discreet," McCartin said.
Ingerick said earwax or cannabis oil can be 60 to 70 percent pure THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, compared with 30 percent THC in marijuana buds today, and about 3 to 4 percent in marijuana in the 1960s and 70s.
The officers who presented, along with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighter and paramedic Marnie Smith, told parents to pay attention to their children and look for cues in the behavior that might indicate drug use.
"You know your kids. You know how they act and interact with you," McCartin said. "You know when they're having a good day or acting differently."
The Parents with a Purpose group will meet again at noon Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Olympian Hall to have a follow up discussion about the presentation.