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News (Media Awareness Project) - US KY: Drug Forum Held At Corbin High
Title:US KY: Drug Forum Held At Corbin High
Published On:2012-01-31
Source:Times Tribune, The (KY)
Fetched On:2012-02-02 06:03:01

Rapid Rise of Synthetic Marijuana, Bath Salts Discussed

At a point in Monday night's drug forum at Corbin High School,
Operation UNITE President/CEO Karen Kelly asked everyone in the
auditorium to stand up. Then Kelly said the following words.

"If you do not know somebody who's been affected by drugs, please sit
down." Only two people did.

The demonstration showed how drugs have taken a toll on Corbin and
the Tri-County region. And it was the focus of the forum called
"Addicted: A Dose of Reality." Held at the school's Betty Hamilton
Center for Performing Arts, the 90-minute presentation showed the
stark reality of how easy and available drugs -- both legal and
illegal -- are to students and adults.

More important to the sponsors of the event, the event talked about
the rapidly rising problem of synthetic marijuana and bath salts,
which were referred to as "synthetic cocaine."

"The drug dilemma that's taking place in our region is probably the
strongest drug invasion in America. It's scary," said Corbin
Independent School Superintendent Ed McNeel, who sponsored the forum
along with Operation UNITE, the Bell-Knox-Whitley Kentucky Agency for
Substance Abuse Policy (BKW KY ASAP), and the Corbin Community Coalition.

McNeel then introduced Kim Crowley, the Corbin School Board Chair,
who painted what she called a surprising picture of the drug scene
that's cropped up in recent months. "As a parent, I did not realize
how prevalent these drugs are out there. I don't want to scare you,
but I do. I want you to take it to heart and spread it. The UNITE
people have excellent information for you tonight... What you'll hear
affects Whitley, Knox, Laurel and neighboring counties."

Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney also spoke, ending with a note on the
pending ordinance to ban and prohibit the sale of synthetic marijuana
in the city. "It's fairly new to me, this drug problem. Our
commissioners are aware of this and we will have our first reading
Monday, February 13, on the ordinance."

Kelly and UNITE's Treatment Director, Elissa Price, came armed with
information, exhibits and pictures to get those at the forum
involved. Following a video presentation telling parents, "Times have
changed. We're not in Mayberry anymore," Kelly pointed out the
average age of first time abusers in Southeastern, Southern and
Eastern Kentucky is 11 years old.

"The availability of drugs is easy in high school and even middle
schools. However, some of the most dangerous drugs are not those
illegal, but prescription drugs, from a family's medicine cabinet. "

It was Price who discussed the kind of drugs available in the region
today and led off with a short statement that the price paid by
families involved is high.

"I watch every single day moms and dads walk away from their kids."

From there she showed classifications of drugs, such as sedatives,
opiates like OxyContin and Methadone, stimulants like cocaine and
meth, the regular form of marijuana, and synthetic marijuana, which
Price said, "They're sold as incense, bath salts and plant food...
Scooby Snax and K2... This is why we're here."

For the next few minutes, the crowd of about 80 inside the auditorium
heard the basics of synthetic marijuana -- what it is, what it's made
up of, the slang terms used to describe it and how much it costs.

Price stated, "How big is the problem? One mother told me, 'I bought
this for my child, and while it's not pot, it's legal. They're going
to do it anyway.' Duh? Synthetic marijuana can be up to 700 times
stronger than (regular) marijuana... It's like playing Russian
Roulette. You never know what you're getting."

And that also pertains to synthetic cocaine, said Price. "They're
known as 'Ivory Wave' or 'Cloud 9.' They're not epsom salts, or stuff
you buy from Bath and Body Works. The illegal ones sell for $30 and
they're made in China and South Africa. They're not actual bath
salts, they're synthetic cocaine."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says synthetic cocaine is
being sold in convenience stores, gas stations, smoke shops and on
the Internet.

Both Price and Kelly discussed treatment, the "Drug Court" program,
and most of all, what parents can do for their children.

"There are five steps on talking to your kids about drugs. Be kind.
Be specific. Be consistent. Be reasonable. And recognize good
behavior... The parent that does know and wants to do something about
drugs are the ones we want. If you suspect their problem (with
drugs), find out about it early on. It's better than seeing them in
jail. Or, in my friend's child's case, dead," said Kelly, who has a
daughter at Corbin High School and who was present at the forum.

Before the program ended, Circuit Court Judge Cathy Prewitt was
recognized and spoke about the drug situation, adding, "I've never
been so scared. Synthetic marijuana is taking over, but you folks are
taking the first step by coming out here tonight."

Also announced by Kelly was that $10,000 would be available to Corbin
from UNITE for volunteers, civic groups, churches and other
organizations to fight the drug problem.

And she closed with a comment that went beyond money or endorsements
by celebrities.

"Only Corbin can say, 'I've had enough,'" Kelly said.
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