Gloucester County Public Schools will present “Synthetic Drugs—What Families and the Community Need to Know” beginning at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 31, at the T.C. Walker Education Center. The free program will be presented in cooperation with the county sheriff and commonwealth attorney’s offices.
The program will include information on Spice, a type of synthetic marijuana, and other designer drugs such as “bath salts.” It will feature presentations by Maj. Ryan Cookson of the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office and Gloucester Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith, followed by an opportunity to ask questions of them, Gloucester High School principal Tony Beverage, emergency room physician Dr. Sudershan Gupta and Rita Cargill Brown, Director of Student Services for GCPS.
Prior to the program, those attending may view related exhibits provided by the Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“I’m really hoping people will turn out for this,” said Cargill Brown. “It is so new and parents are unaware of the problems it causes. The schools know what to look for, but a lot of parents don’t know what to look for.”
Cargill Brown said synthetic drugs began to be a problem in local schools during the 2011-2012 school year. “Last year we started seeing Spice cases, students found to be in possession of Spice. Over the course of the last year we started to see it as a real problem and then we were hit with it at the beginning of this school year. We had three cases right at the start of school,” she said, adding there have been about six cases of Spice possession since September.
“A lot of parents are unaware of what their students are doing. One parent said her student was having it (Spice) delivered to his house. Parents and the community need to be aware. This causes irrational behavior in students and affects their overall success. We want to eradicate this problem before it gets worse than it is.”
reprinted from January 24, 2013 with permission from Gloucester-Mathews Gazette Journal.