Drug Darkness Community Forum - 2015
Nearly one hundred and fifty community members attended the Churchill Community Coalition’s Drug Darkness Community Forum this past Thursday, May 21, 2015, held at the Fallon Convention Center. The event included presentations, vendors, information on local trends and education for parents and teens about drugs and alcohol abuse.
Presentations on Marijuana and the effects of legalization on communities were given by Bob Doyle, Executive Director of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance and Chair of the Colorado SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) Coalition and Dayle Quigley, from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program. Both presenters shared information about marijuana and legalization that was surprising to those unfamiliar with the “new marijuana” and the effects of marijuana legalization in communities.
Dayle Quigley shared that today 1 in 9 fatal car crashes are caused by someone high on marijuana in Colorado. Additionally, emergency rooms in Colorado are seeing an increase in visits due to marijuana use and burns due to explosions from at home attempts to make hash oil using butane, a highly flammable liquefied gas. Information on “edibles” was also shared, that is, candy, chips, drinks and more that are infused or coated with high levels of THC (around 30%). A small “marijuana cookie” could be equal to smoking six “joints” because of the high level of THC. Many of these edibles are meant to be consumed in several servings, not all at once, but because many people are not aware of that information there are increasing amounts of overdose incidents especially in young children and teens. Quigley also shared that the marijuana is not staying within Colorado’s borders, likely due to the high levels of THC. It has been found in at least 10 other states, being trafficked by car or even shipped through UPS and Fed Ex.
Bob Doyle spoke on marijuana and how it especially affects mental health and our youth. One story shared was about a 17-year-old boy who tried 3 THC gummy candies and had a psychotic breakdown thought to be due to the extremely high levels of THC and then shot himself. Doyle also shared that 60% of students who start using weed at a young age do not graduate high school, and the negative affects marijuana has on children’s developing brains. He also discussed how marijuana marketing is targeted at young people and is not focused on treating medical issues. Additionally he mentioned how many people who originally voted for marijuana legalization in Colorado have now voted against it in recent days because of the serious consequences now being seen throughout their communities.
The STOP (Students Taking On Prevention) club shared information about the effects of tobacco and other drugs on the body on Thursday. The “Teen Room” was set up and the STOP teens shared information on drug trends and popular stash items used by teens to hide drugs and alcohol. These stash items include water bottles, markers, underwear and deodorants. The STOP teens are an important part of the Churchill Community Coalition and volunteer their time to help improve our community by talking with younger students about the risks and consequences of using drugs and alcohol.
A panel consisting of the Churchill County Sheriff, Ben Trotter, the Churchill County District Attorney, Lane Mills, Jenera Tucker with the New Frontier Treatment Center, and Darrin Hammer with the Juvenile Probation Office, shared information and answered questions from community members on drug trends in Churchill County.
Several vendors attended the 2015 Drug Darkness event including Banner Hospital, JOIN, Inc. Employment Service, Job Connect, New Frontier Treatment Center, the Sheriff’s Office, The Crisis Call Center, Solomon’s Porch Counseling Center, AIM Frame Advertising, Mary Kay by Sharon Pacheco and QPR Suicide Prevention Training by FRIENDS Family Resource Center.
The Churchill Community Coalition thanks all our vendors, presenters, panel participants and community members for making the 2015 Drug Darkness event a success!