Pubdate: Mon, 23 Oct 2006
Source: Atmore Advance, The (AL)
Copyright: 2006, Atmore Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Lisa Tindell


Red Ribbons will be decorating the halls of area schools this week in 
recognition of Drug Awareness Week. The annual event is scheduled for 
Oct. 23 through 31 this year and will be filled with speeches, 
activities and information about drugs and their effects on users and 
their loved ones.

"There is too much money in the drug business," Escambia County 
Sheriff Grover Smith said. "We won't be able to stop the drug 
business until we do something about the demand."

In today's society, everyone is aware of the drug war being fought by 
law enforcement agencies across the United States.

"The war we are fighting on drugs makes the war in Iraq pale by 
comparison," Smith said. "The only way we can win the war is to stop 
the desire for the substances."

Drugs affect men, women and children across the nation. Statistics 
show that pre-teens usually begin their drug use with alcohol and 
could possibly move on to other drugs as they grow older.

"I have seen older adults with drug problems involving cocaine and 
methamphetamines," Smith said. "The problems aren't age selective. 
The problems we see involve people aged from preteen to folks in 
their 50s and 60s."

There are facilities situated throughout the gulf coast area that 
specialize in the treatment of drug users.

"Rehabilitation facilities and intervention programs are 
overwhelmed," Smith said. "We need to be more proactive in schools, 
churches and homes to help eliminate drug problems and educate people 
on just what drugs can do to them, their family and their friends."

Internet activity revolving around the sale and production of drugs 
is growing daily and is a multi-million dollar industry, Smith said.

A website hosted by the United Nations Information Service states the 
International Narcotics Control Board is scheduling meetings among 
heads of states to help find a solution to the problem.

"Because it provides easy access to controlled drugs, the Internet is 
becoming an important route for trafficking by on-line pharmacies. 
These pharmacies illegally provide prescription drugs to clients 
worldwide, but without the required prescriptions. They are used as a 
source by drug addicts and provide the means for large-scale dealing 
to a practically unlimited number of customers," the site said.

These prescription drugs often contain narcotics and psychotropic 
substances with properties similar to illicit drugs such as heroin 
and cocaine. Demand is high for some of these controlled 
pharmaceuticals, which are often abused by drug addicts as their 
first drug of choice. Others may become unwittingly dependent on 
drugs if they take them without medical supervision. In practical 
terms it is easier to access drugs via online pharmacies, which are 
just a mouse-click away, than by seeking professional help or by 
forging prescriptions or by theft, the site said.

"These internet pharmacies are making it just as easy to get drugs as 
walking to the street corner," Smith said. "It's really a shame, but 
the Internet has become one of the best and one of the worst things 
to become available in the home."

Escambia County Schools are planning activities throughout the week 
to promote awareness concerning drug use.
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