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Pubdate: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 Source: Uxbridge Times Journal/Tribune, The (CN ON) Contact: 2002 The Uxbridge Times Journal/Tribune Website: http://www.durhamregion.com/dr/community/uxbridge/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2210 'THIS IS A WAKE-UP CALL' 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 Township.. "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 year. 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 said. 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."