Pubdate: Wed, 24 Nov 2004
Source: Huron Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Huron Expositor
Author: Jason Middleton


Seaforth Huron Expositor -- Thirty-two concerned residents crammed
into Huron East council chambers last Tuesday to hear about the
dangers of street drugs and what they can do to identify substance
abuse in their community.

"I can tell by the turnout tonight that there's quite a bit of concern
about it (drugs in the community)," said OPP Const. Dave Gillan to the
crowd made up of parents, grand parents, scout leaders and local store
owners. "It's probably justified."

At the Community Policing meeting held last Monday, Gillan and drug
resource officer Const. Craig Soldan spoke about what drugs are
readily available in the area and how to protect yourself, coworkers
and family from them.

"If I sent somebody down to a certain area, we could probably buy
crack cocaine tonight," said Gillan. "I'm not trying to scare people,
but it's out there."

Gillan told the crowd that there is a "undercurrent" of the drug
culture in Seaforth. He said that drug users rely on money they gain
from robberies and stealing items from cars to fund their habits.

"How does somebody who's 22 years old and doesn't have a job pay for
his drugs?" Gillan asked.

He said there are some "little signs" to tell if there is someone
using drugs in your family.

Some of the obvious signs  Gillan said, is missing money from your
purse or wallet, a missing debit card returned with some missing funds
or missing items from your house.

He said that if your child comes home from a party with a couple of
cellphones and a new CD player chances are the items were used to
barter drugs.

Marijuana, one of the more common drugs, has a whole culture
associated with it, Gillan said.

Despite having a lackadaisical attitude, marijuana users are capable
of keeping a job he said.

Other signs of the use of marijuana -- also known as pot, green, bud
or mary jane -- include marijuana grow magazines, zip lock bags and
maybe a scale.

Marijuana can be sold in several way including the bud of the plant,
which gives the greater high, or the stems and leaves of the plant
which are called "shake."

Soldan also explained about what farmers will notice if marijuana is
being grown among their crops.

Up near Walkerton, Soldan said, it's not unusual to see grow
operations in farmers' fields with 5,000 to 6,000 marijuana plants,
but around Seaforth grow operations are numbered around 200 plants.

He said that other things to look for in the ditch, include plastic
planting trays, fertilizer bags and buckets used to take care of the
plants. Another variant of marijuana, Gillan explained, is called hash
and is the melted down oil version of marijuana "shake."

They also explained about the dangers of methamphetamines (or meth), a
drug popular in Perth County and is heading into Huron.

"It's a really nasty drug," Gillan said.

Meth can be injected, snorted, swallowed and can sell from $80 to $100
a gram.

The officers said meth can cause a rapid deterioration in the health
of a user. Addicts can develop lesions, hollow cheeks and the drooping
of eyes and nose.

Gillan also talked about the drug cocaine.

"Everybody gets all worried when they hear about cocaine," said
Gillan. "Yes it is here, yes it's everywhere. It's not just a big city
drug." Cocaine comes in two different forms -- straight cocaine, a
sugar-like substance, and crack cocaine, a hard form of the drug.

Gillan said that crack cocaine is sold as a rock form and can be
smoked in a pipe -- which can be made of anything like a pop bottle,
coffee mug or a regular pipe lined with metal -- and can cost anywhere
from $10 to $45.

Marie Bieber, of Egmondville, asked why the police don't just go out
and stop suspected drug houses from selling drugs to the public. "It's
really hard to get a warrant on a residence without the information
from the public," said Gillan.

The drug trade is a wide-spread feeder system, Gillan said, and if one
person is arrested another comes in and replaces him.

"We've got to have people to help us out too or nothing will get
done," Soldan said. "If everybody stays silent when they have the
information they're (the drug dealers) going to to what ever they want."

He explained that drug houses often have periods where there is
continual traffic followed by periods of no traffic for days.

"If the house looks like a Tim Hortons and they don't have a sign out
front -- they're not selling coffee -- I can tell you that," said Gillan.

If you notice any suspicious activity in your neighbour hood phone the
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