“You Can’t Stop What You Don’t Know”
The Bucoda-Tenino Healthy Action Team (B-THAT) sponsored a “High in Plain Sight” workshop for anyone who was interested in preventing youth substance abuse.
Stacia Wasmundt, the B-THAT coalition coordinator, and Tenino City Councilmember John J. O’Callahan attended this workshop in Tumwater last year, and were very impressed with the training and how much they learned about drug and alcohol concealment methods. They shared what they learned with the rest of the B-THAT members, and the group voted to have Officer Jermaine Galloway come and give his presentation in Tenino in order to spread awareness about current trends in youth drug culture.
Galloway started his presentation by saying “Our future is in our children.” He said that businesses market to children because if they “get them” early, they’ll have a customer for life.
He constantly updates his “High in Plain Sight” training to keep up with current trends. He brought more than 120 visual aids for attendees to hold and become familiar with.
Galloway showed us popular products that promote alcohol and drug abuse. This allowed people in our community to know what is going on, so people are better equipped to prevent youth and adult substance abuse.
E-devices have become very popular in the past couple of years. According to the Healthy Youth Survey in Thurston County, there was a 302% increase in the use of e-devices (e-cigarettes & vaporizers) by tenth graders between 2010 and 2014.
Galloway’s information on e-devices was eye opening for me. These devices have 3 parts–the cartridge, the battery, and a mouthpiece–so they are simple and easy to use. The cartridge contains and vaporizes a thick liquid called “e-juice” which is heated up by the battery, so it can be inhaled through the mouthpiece. There are over 100 different flavors of nicotine-infused e-juice cartridges. These flavors (vanilla, chocolate, menthol, candy, and fruit flavors) often are designed to appeal to young people.
Galloway said it’s also easy to use e-devices for drug use. How can you tell if it’s a marijuana oil (or wax) in an e-device? It’s complicated. First of all, people prefer to use smaller e-devices for drug use, as they are more discreet. It’s hard to tell if someone is using marijuana in an e-device because the differences in the qualities of the devices and the various strains of marijuana varies. Some oils and waxes used in e-devices are infused with fragrances, too, so they can help mask the distinctive smell of marijuana use. Whether you smell anything also depends on your proximity to the user
“Kids are very creative,” Galloway said. In the future, e-devices may be used for other drugs besides nicotine and marijuana. The drug culture changes at a rapid pace. He said we’ll just have to watch closely to see how this develops.
Author’s Note: Taking this class is life altering. Officer Galloway has 14 years’ experience dealing with Minors in Possession (MIP) in his work on the Boise, Idaho, police force. A few years ago he and his wife started the NW Alcohol Conference.