VERSAILLES – “The one thing we know: The drug and alcohol culture was strong when I was growing up and it’s even stronger now,” announced Jermaine Galloway Sept. 18.
The Idaho police officer was at Versailles Baptist Church, training 15 attendees about alcohol and substance abuse trends and identifiers. “You Can’t Stop What you Don’t Know” is his theme as he makes presentations across the country.
His speeches and workshops in Ripley and Dearborn counties were financially supported by the Ripley County Local Coordinating Council, Indiana Youth Institute, Dearborn County Citizens Against Substance Abuse and One Community One Family of Community Mental Health Center.
Youth issues tied to substance abuse range from violence, fights and domestic abuse to bullying, truancy, dropouts, reduction in grades and vandalism. Parents “look at things as small, no big deal.” Then incidents mount up and they think, “‘Crap, how did we get here?’ You need to address the small stuff,” he advised.
Galloway recently told a Wisconsin officer, “I run into methamphetamine all the time .. I see heroin every now and then.” The Wisconsin man said in his state it’s just the opposite.
Keeping up with drugs can be confusing for police and the public. Using marijuana is a misdemeanor in Idaho. “You cross over our border and go to the state of Washington and it’s totally legal.”
The expert announced ecstasy is the main drug of choice at raves, which are dance parties, sometimes with visual effects. “They’ll have black lights in a room, so all these colors jump out.” He said, “If a kid talked about hanging out with Molly … right next to his dad,” Molly means ecstasy. Other terms are X, thizz, weezy, one, rolling and PLUR, a rave acronym for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect.
He believes marijuana is the most abused drug because “it’s so easy to get.” Two-thirds of new marijuana users are under 18. Nine percent who try it develop abuse and dependence, 17 percent if they start before 18. Sixty-seven percent of teens are referred to substance abuse treatment because of marijuana. He warned, “Don’t just think they stay in the marijuana world… frequently they’re dabbling in other drugs.”
Turning to alcohol, he asked if everyone knew what binge drinking is. The officer defined it as five drinks (12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine) for males, four for females over a two-hour period.
Ninety percent of alcohol consumption by underage drinkers is through binge drinking, Galloway reported. Another astonishing statistic: “People ages 12-20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. ... Some parents say, ‘My kids (only) drink with me.” Galloway would agree, then reply, “Every other time they’re drinking, they’re doing that,” pointing at his binge drinking slide.
The officer discussed the sugary sweet Starburst flavors – orange, strawberry, lemon, cherry mango, peach guava – then pointed out sweetened beers and malt beverages in cans that look like energy drinks have similar flavors. He asked, “Why wouldn’t they be popular with 10-year-olds?” Some have as much as 12 percent alcohol in them.
“We had a bunch of kids overdose” on the Four Loko brand in central Washington and one nearly died. The company’s answer was to remove the caffeine from the product, but not the alcohol.
Galloway urged parents to read can labels. The phrase “contains alcohol” is a giveaway. “Look at nutritional content.” If it’s listed, generally the drink is nonalcoholic. “Alcoholic beer doesn’t have to have that data.”
Amy Phillips, Youth Encouragement Services Home, Manchester, program director, reported, “I was at Jay C (Food Store) last week in Milan,” where she found fruity alcoholic drinks next to Propel enhanced water and asked the manager to move them to a less obvious place youth may not look.
Even substances legal for teens can be used in unintended ways. “There are a few different things kids are doing with hand sanitizer,” which is 65 percent alcohol (130 proof). They pump it into cupped hands, put it right under their noses, inhale and get buzzed. They also pump it directly into their mouths and swallow, at home and school.
Two trends could be headed this way. Bong Spirit vodka, made in Holland, has a tab that when pulled off transformed the container into a bong. A map showed the newer product mostly in the Southwest, Florida and New York, but not Indiana – yet.
The other is called dabbing. A new process of extracting THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chief intoxicant in marijuana) makes oil-based pot. “It looks different, it smells a little bit different ... they can flavor it, it’s very popular. In my opinion, this is one of the new waves of drug use.” The process makes the drug “three times more potent than anything people have been using for years and years.” People “used to say, ‘No one’s ever died of pot.’ Now we’re getting overdoses.”
The man who was named 2009 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention National Law Enforcement Partner of the Year suggested, “Look for a silicone container that contains a waxy substance” or a glass or titanium nail that almost looks like a golf tee.The nail is placed inside a bong and heated. A small amount of wax is placed on the nail, then smoke is inhaled. Galloway added, “Another pretty common trend now is these (electronic) cigarettes. They have devices that look like these cigarettes that are made to smoke dabs.”
“You’ve got to really be paying attention,” said the married dad of three boys. Bong terms adults might hear include oil rig, oil bubbler, vapor rig, double shower and head. Dab terms range from oil, shatter, amber and honey to wax, ear wax and budder.
The number 710 means those who do marijuana waxes, oils and concentrates because those numbers, upside down, spell OIL. Parents who want more information can go to www.puffndabs.com, www.thedabstore.com, www.extractionexperts.com or his Web site, www.tallcopsaysstop.com.
Recently Galloway asked his oldest son, 13, for his cellphone and iPad. He went through the data, “just checking it, every single app” and text. “It needs to be in his mind that could happen. He needs to be thinking, ‘If I send a really bad text’ or receive one, a parent could see it, too.
The officer calls signs of substance abuse identifiers. “You find yourself looking at every bumper sticker, every piece of graffiti, every tattoo, what’s written in every bathroom stall.”
Adults shouldn’t profile teens based on their attire. One might be wearing a shirt subtly referencing drugs simply because he likes the colors. “We need to take the extra steps to find out” if the youth favors the clothing because of drug use.
One shirt had a logo that looked like FTF, which stands for 40 to 5, he explained. “What time is it? 4:20. That’s been a popular drug term for awhile ... 4:20 is the universal time and/or date to get high” using marijuana. Logos should be questioned, he said. If a child is evasive, investigate.
Galloway held up a T-shirt of a bloodshot Captain Crunch with the label Captain Chronic. The number 420 on the hat was topped with a marijuana leaf. “When they’re wearing it, it should prompt a conversation.”
DGK, which stands for Dirty Ghetto Kids, “is one of the most popular youth-based clothing lines in the country .... They’ve come out with a shirt that glorifies prescription drug dealers.” Another with two styrofoam cups is code for cough medicine, often abused.
Parents and school officials need to be suspicious of clothes. Some ball caps, shoes and shorts now have stash pockets, where drugs, guns, razor blades and handcuff keys can be hidden. “This is the new look of the drug world. They’re going to stuff, (thinking) ‘I can wear it to school, I can wear it to community events … and no one knows.’”
He recommended parents do an online search if something bewilders them. The officer is another resource. A photo and the question “Do you know what this is?” can be e-mailed to Jermaine@tallcopsaysstop.com. “I will get back with you,” but it may take awhile while he travels.
Although this area is rural, “most people have cars and travel to other towns. You need to go where your community goes” or learn online about the current drug culture. He begged, “Don’t just give your kids $100 … know where they’re going. Go in the stores they do.”
Galloway’s rule is if a major city is close, “you have every ... (drug) they have.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.