HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html 'This Is A Wake-Up Call'
Pubdate: Wed, 27 Feb 2002
Source: Uxbridge Times Journal/Tribune, The (CN ON)
Contact:  2002 The Uxbridge Times Journal/Tribune


Drug Sweep Leads to Over 30 Charged

NORTH DURHAM - More than 30 people, including almost two dozen students, are
facing drug-related charges after north Durham police conducted a three-week
undercover sweep of high schools in Uxbridge, Port Perry and Brock

"This should be a wake-up call to everyone...that there's a higher incidence
of drug use in the schools and in the towns," Constable Clint Cole, north
Durham police's high school liaison officer, said Monday afternoon.

Const. Cole was assigned to work in north Durham's high schools last fall as
part of a Durham Regional Police initiative. He said he was alarmed to see
the "cavalier" attitude some students take to drugs in local high schools.

"It's not two guys smoking a joint in a back field anymore," he described.
"It's right in front of the main doors of a high school."

Police decided to undertake the extensive investigation following a number
of complaints from north Durham communities and school officials. Similar
campaigns were carried out last year in Whitby and Clarington.

The prevalence of drugs in the schools was highlighted when Const. Cole, who
often works in uniform at the schools, arrested an individual for drug
possession in front of the entrance to Port Perry High School late last

Over the past three weeks, undercover police conducted surveillance in
school parking lots, stopping and searching vehicles they deemed suspicious
(Cartwright High School in Blackstock was not included in the
investigation), and in the local towns. The arrests were made both in the
schools during daytime and in the evenings in the various municipalities.

The majority of the 43 charges laid were for possession of a controlled
substance, usually marijuana but also hashish, hash oil and psylocibin
'magic' mushrooms, Const. Cole said. However, police also charged a number
of adults with drug trafficking.

Police arrested one man for taking pictures of plainclothed officers in
their cars, Const. Cole said.

Peter Morris, the principal at Uxbridge Secondary School (USS), said staff
at the school were supportive of the police investigation.

"We congratulate the police on their efforts to make the schools safer," he

Durham's public school board levied 19 suspensions to students and expelled
one following the drug sweep. Mr. Morris said the suspensions were handed
out in accordance with the Province's new "zero tolerance" policy outlined
in the Safe Schools Act.

He said he was not surprised by the number of students charged with drug
possession. "I would assume it's probably par for the course," he
explained. "(Drugs are) out there."