Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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Police seminar examines teen drug abuse

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Enterprise Area Command hosted “Generation Rx” on Wednesday night at Spring Valley High School, a drug awareness program geared toward local parents and children.

One of the teenagers in attendance was 13-year-old Alicia Gaxiola of Lawrence Junior High School, who said drugs are a big problem for teens in the Las Vegas Valley.

“I have a friend that does drugs,” Alicia said. “I try to keep him out of it, but he keeps falling back into it. It’s hard.”

The event was hosted in conjunction with the Narcotic Education Foundation of Nevada and the Drug Abuse Awareness Team.

Among the topics at the seminar were the effects of marijuana, cocaine, painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants.

Metro Police Detective Ashton Packe said there has been an increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers in the Las Vegas Valley during the past few years.

“Some kids nowadays are having ‘pharm’ parties,” Packe said. “They raid their parents’ medicine cabinets, mix up the pills and take them.”

Cough syrup, Packe said, has become a popular over-the-counter drug to abuse — a trend that concerns Las Vegas resident Rose Broderick.

“A lot of the cough syrups are bubble gum flavored or cherry flavored,” said Broderick, whose two grandsons attend Spring Valley High School. “Small children already like those tastes and it could continue when they get older.”

Packe is a member of the Narcotic Education Foundation of Nevada, a group of local law enforcement officers dedicated to drug prevention.

He said the key for teenagers is to get involved and focus their energy on activities that are not drug-related — whether it’s homework, sports or religion.

“We’re never going to arrest our way out of drug abuse in this country,” Packe said. “We could build prisons until we’re paying 1,000-percent tax hikes and it’s not going to stop it. If we can reduce consumer demand, we can reduce drug abuse.”

Broderick said communication with her grandsons is very important.

“We talk a lot about the effects of drugs and how to avoid them,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m driving them to school in the morning or if it’s at dinner. We’re all very open.”

For more information about the Narcotic Education Foundation of Nevada, visit www.nefn.org.

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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