Pubdate: Fri, 08 Mar 2002
Source: Florence Times Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 Times Daily
Author: Emilio Sahurie
Bookmark: (Youth)


MUSCLE SHOALS - Don't count on a lecture when Alcoholic Beverage 
Control Board agent Mike Reese tells children about the dangers of 
drug abuse.

Reese, a 20-year-law enforcement veteran working narcotics cases, 
visits schools with stories of teen-agers addicted to OxyContin or 
dying from popular "club drugs."

At the 43 schools where his program Operation Teen Save have been 
conducted, students in his audience sometimes cry after seeing 
photographs of children like themselves in a coma or dead.

On Thursday, he brought that same dose of reality home to some 100 
area police officers, educators and counselors attending a training 
program at Northwest-Shoals Community College. The program is a 
response to a growing problem with OxyContin and a new wave of rave 
drugs taking root in Alabama.

Abuse of the prescription painkiller OxyContin and gamma 
hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, a depressant the government banned 12 years 
ago, have been blamed for dozens of rapes and deaths across the 
state. OxyContin alone is linked to about 80 deaths in Alabama, he 

"Tell your daughters, all it takes is one capful to kill you," Reese 
said, referring to GHB. "They could be raped for two days and not be 
able to do anything about it."

Another ABC agent, Lt. Andy Hardy, a training and drug operations 
coordinator based in Montgomery, said the new wave of drugs children 
are exposed to are deadlier.

"Ten years ago, it could have been cocaine and marijuana," Hardy 
said. "If you smoked pot, I could help you. Now, the severity of the 
problem is that these drugs could literally kill you the first time 
you use them."

Statewide, methamphetamine is among the most prevalent drug, he said.

Police often see some of the new wave of drugs in the club scene and 
underground raves sometimes advertised on the Internet.

During his presentation, Reese talked about children across the 
country who were killed, including Samantha Reid, a 15-year-old 
Michigan girl who had GHB slipped into her soda at a party in 1999.

The odorless and colorless liquid has been used in date rapes and for 
getting high.

Two of her school classmates were charged in connection with the death.

"We have to get to the ones who haven't started using drugs," Reese 
said. "If you have kids, go talk to them about how prevalent it is."
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