By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon parents should visit local retail stores to see if they can spot over-the-counter medicines that youth can use to get high, a well-respected substance abuse trainer says.
A “Tall Cop Says Stop” webinar on June 4 in Yukon provided valuable advice from an expert on the latest drug trends.
The presentation, titled “You Can’t Stop What You Don’t Know,” featured former Iowa police officer Jermaine Galloway who has specialized in underage drinking and drug enforcement for more than 15 years. Galloway, who now lives in Dallas, trains about 60,000 people annually in the U.S. and Canada.
The “virtual” town hall seminar, sponsored by the Yu-Can Youth Coalition and the Drug and Alcohol Task Force, provided tools and resources to combat substance abuse.
Introducing last Thursday’s “Tall Cop Says Stop” webinar was Yu-Can Youth Coalition Chair Amanda Letter, who told the audience they would enjoy the presentation.
And enjoy it they did.
Galloway advised his virtual audience of Yukon parents and school officials to “look past the obvious”.
After a training last year in Norman, he stopped at a gas station and noticed a drug on the shelves labeled as a “mood enhancer” next to rolling papers. It turned out to be a legal opioid in Oklahoma, which has become quite popular with youth.
“It’s a natural herbal drug that’s not FDA regulated or approved (in most states) and there are no quality controls,” Galloway said.
This item can be smoked, drunk or placed in a capsule. In high doses, it’s used as a pain killer.
The presenter recommended that people walk through local retail locations to become better informed about what products are being sold and readily available over the counter – that minors can use to get high.
Regarded as one of the United States’ top experts in various drug and alcohol trends, Galloway stands at 6’9” and played Division 1 basketball before becoming a police officer.
He spends much of his time today speaking to youth at school assemblies, professionals at drug prevention trainings and parents at town hall meetings.
MORE ACCESSIBILITY, INCREASED USE
The impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused alcohol sales to rise as more people – including minors – stayed home, Galloway noted.
Marketing efforts also have provided increased accessibility – which “means more use,” he added.
The presenter shared fascinating, detailed knowledge about the latest drug trends. Here are just a few highlights (or lowlights):
Of great interest was information Galloway offered his Yukon audience about increasingly popular vape devices, including standard and modified vape pens and e-cigarettes.
Youth are known to smoke synthetic, fruit-flavored cannabinoids out of these devices.
Galloway estimated it will be early 2021 before more federal vape policies are implemented to tighten restrictions.
*The “Tall Cop” also shared information about candy laced with LSD and ecstasy. Synthetics can come in many forms and often don’t look like drugs.
*A legal drug in the U.S. is an anti-depression mood enhancer that acts on the body’s opioid receptors.
“It’s sold and marketed like a candy bar,” Galloway said.
The drug is very powerful and leads to withdrawal symptoms.
*He mentioned an over-the-counter nasal inhaler that people can buy off the shelf at their local pharmacy. It can be chewed or put in a drink. The “high” it can provide is “almost identical” to methamphetamine, the speaker said.
Both these over-the-counter medications are not controlled and can help people get around drug tests.
*A huge trend is the sale of a cough syrup with codeine that may be mixed with a soft drink and candy. Galloway shared with his audience its many street names.
*With medicinal marijuana now legal in Oklahoma, the “Tall Cop” focused much of his presentation on the most commercialized strain. It comes in three classes that he described as depressants/downers, stimulants/uppers and a combination of both. They come in leaf, edibles and concentrates.
*Benadryl, an over-the-counter allergy medication, is fine when used properly. But in large quantities it can increase the high of narcotics and take the edge off narcotic withdrawals. Some use it as a sleep aid. Other legal medications like Imodium are also popular among drug seekers.
Galloway encouraged his Yukon viewers to check out his upcoming drug-abuse prevention trainings in Oklahoma.
With all the latest drug trends, he told the audience that if their last drug training was two years ago – “that’s two years too long.”
Learn more at www.tallcopsaysstop.com
Funding for Galloway’s Yukon presentation came through a Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP Act) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).