HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Roots Of Drug Use Not Tackled, Says Expert
Pubdate: Wed, 13 Dec 2006
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Prince George Citizen
Author: Frank Peebles, Citizen Staff


The legal system is failing to shield the public from the effects of 
drugs, so the RCMP is tackling the responsibility of prevention more than ever.

That was the message from two of the Mounties' premier drug experts, 
who were in Prince George Tuesday to teach local officers more about 
how to spot different drugs, what affects they are having in the 
community, and how to reach out to empower people to say no to drugs.

"Different drugs keep surfacing," said Sgt. Scott Rintoul, assistant 
provincial co-ordinator in the RCMP's drug and organized crime 
awareness service, saying the enforcement side of policing is always 
in detection and arrest mode. "What we are lacking is addressing the 
root causes of drug use. Alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are still the 
three worst challenges. If we could deal with those three, you'd have 
an effect on everything else."

Cpl. Sharon Cooke is one of the province's Drug Awareness Officers 
(there are four in the North) and she told officers all the 
enforcement in the world was no substitute for doing the subliminal 
police work every officer can do: get involved with people.

"Then, maybe we have a chance," she said. "It is possible to have the 
whole (drug culture) go down, but if we don't work on prevention with 
the community, it will be worse in 10 years and worse still in 50 years."

According to studies, Cooke said, a list of 40 character/societal 
assets has been established that people can pick up as children. The 
more of them they have, statistics show, the less likely they are to 
engage in drug use later and the better they do in school. These 
assets are not based on ethnic or economic factors, but holistic, 
universal scenarios.

Those studies show that each child needs at least four positive adult 
role models in their lives in order to diminish the chances of 
problem drug use later in life. She suggested it was part of a 
Mountie's mandate to try to be one of those positive role models.

"It is not just us, only a few aspects of the drug issue are 
police-involved, it is businesses, schools, cultural groups, 
churches, all kinds of community involvement is needed. We all have 
to work together," she said.

Rintoul gave the Mounties and policing volunteers at the event an 
education in the physiological symptoms of the five most prevalent 
chemical drugs (common names: ecstasy, MDA, crystal methamphetamine, 
GHB and ketamine), the long-term effects, use patterns, trafficking 
patterns, dose patterns, chemical makeup, and the latest lies drug 
dealers tell their clients about what they think they are putting 
into their bodies.

All too often, Rintoul said, a party user or street user will ask for 
one thing but get a chemical cocktail instead.

Drugs are more addictive, cheaper to buy, worse in their body and 
brain damage, and easier to manufacture than ever before, Rintoul 
said, so the surest way to turn back the flood is to deal with people 
before they are users.

"Right now the barn door is wide open and no one is there to shut 
it," Rintoul said. "Harm reduction has a role, but it shouldn't be 
the front end. What is this community, right in Prince George doing 
so no one enters those gates? Parents are No. 1 in that regard, 
schools are secondary, then positive role models in their 
extracurricular lives comes next and they are especially important if 
those first two haven't been fulfilled. That's where we can play a big part."
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