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Drug awareness session held for parents in the Lewisporte area

Retired RCMP officer Harold Nippard shared past experiences and information about drug and alcohol issues facing children and young people in the Lewisporte area with about 60 people that attended an awareness session at Lewisporte Collegiate on Nov. 28.
Retired RCMP officer Harold Nippard shared past experiences and information about drug and alcohol issues facing children and young people in the Lewisporte area with about 60 people that attended an awareness session at Lewisporte Collegiate on Nov. 28.

You could hear a pin drop. Retired RCMP officer Harold Nippard was addressing a crowd of about 60 parents at a drug awareness session at Lewisporte Collegiate on Nov. 28. The parents were of students from Grades 5-12.

Collegiate principal Krista Freake explained why they invited parents of younger children — Grade 5 students are 10-11 years old.

“Drug use is happening in much lower grades than in the past,” she said. “Some parents have little to no information about what drugs are available, what they look like and the side effects they have and we want to start the conversation.”

Nippard shared the shocking reality of what drugs are available in Lewisporte and surrounding communities.

Representatives from the school, public health and Central Health got together to formulate a plan on how to address the growing issue of drug use and drug trafficking in the area and decided an information session was the place to start.

Freake noted there will be more sessions that include activities for students, parent sessions with interactive stations and talks about drugs, alcohol, sex and mental health.

 

Raising awareness

Nippard spent 38 years with the RCMP and saw more than his fair share of the effects of drugs on people’s lives.

It’s one of the reasons he volunteered to help with the local awareness initiative.

“I have a long standing concern for the welfare of children and young people,” he said. “Personally and professionally, I’ve seen the effects of what drugs and alcohol can do to a person’s life.”

He warned parents that if they have heard that drugs are only available in St. John’s, they need to know that isn’t the truth. They are right here in the community.

“When I grew up there was only marijuana and hash available and you wouldn’t dare bring it to school,” he said. “If I had a beer, I had it in the woods because I was afraid my mother would find out and I would rather have been caught by the cops than Mom.”

Nippard noted that children are now bringing drugs to school — using, buying and selling.

Freake confirmed the reality that Nippard spoke about.

“About half these drugs are in our schools being sold and used,” she said. “It might be when kids go to a party or bonfire or out for a drive, but if I see it or know about it I will call you and ask you to work with me to keep our students safe.”

Nippard’s warning to parents was clear and concise.

“Parents need to be more vigilant of what’s going on around them,” he advised. “Some day it could be your son or daughter using unless we face this head on — no one wants to be the parent of the user.”

Nippard recalled an incident in one of the towns he used to patrol in which he confiscated four joints of marijuana from an eight-year-old who went on to become a trafficker.

He asked parents if they had ever heard of a salad party.

A salad party is when people collect pills from home and bring them to a party or gathering with a group of friends. Everyone throws their pills in a bowl and one by one people pick out a pill and eat it.

 

Parent perspective

Lewisporte resident and Grade 10 parent Perry Pond was in attendance for the session. He thought it was a good way to start the conversation about issues surrounding drugs and alcohol.

“I really appreciate the people that took the initiative to start this conversation,” he said. “We probably would have never had it when I was younger and in school because the subject was taboo.”

Pond noted the session was a way to inform parents of what is around them, available and what their children can potentially become involved in.

“It’s here and it’s real,” he said. “We can’t hide and pretend it doesn’t affect us because we’re a smaller centre.”

He is looking forward to more sessions so that parents can learn as much as possible and do what they can to help prevent drug issues in the future.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

 

 

 

Collegiate principal Krista Freake explained why they invited parents of younger children — Grade 5 students are 10-11 years old.

“Drug use is happening in much lower grades than in the past,” she said. “Some parents have little to no information about what drugs are available, what they look like and the side effects they have and we want to start the conversation.”

Nippard shared the shocking reality of what drugs are available in Lewisporte and surrounding communities.

Representatives from the school, public health and Central Health got together to formulate a plan on how to address the growing issue of drug use and drug trafficking in the area and decided an information session was the place to start.

Freake noted there will be more sessions that include activities for students, parent sessions with interactive stations and talks about drugs, alcohol, sex and mental health.

 

Raising awareness

Nippard spent 38 years with the RCMP and saw more than his fair share of the effects of drugs on people’s lives.

It’s one of the reasons he volunteered to help with the local awareness initiative.

“I have a long standing concern for the welfare of children and young people,” he said. “Personally and professionally, I’ve seen the effects of what drugs and alcohol can do to a person’s life.”

He warned parents that if they have heard that drugs are only available in St. John’s, they need to know that isn’t the truth. They are right here in the community.

“When I grew up there was only marijuana and hash available and you wouldn’t dare bring it to school,” he said. “If I had a beer, I had it in the woods because I was afraid my mother would find out and I would rather have been caught by the cops than Mom.”

Nippard noted that children are now bringing drugs to school — using, buying and selling.

Freake confirmed the reality that Nippard spoke about.

“About half these drugs are in our schools being sold and used,” she said. “It might be when kids go to a party or bonfire or out for a drive, but if I see it or know about it I will call you and ask you to work with me to keep our students safe.”

Nippard’s warning to parents was clear and concise.

“Parents need to be more vigilant of what’s going on around them,” he advised. “Some day it could be your son or daughter using unless we face this head on — no one wants to be the parent of the user.”

Nippard recalled an incident in one of the towns he used to patrol in which he confiscated four joints of marijuana from an eight-year-old who went on to become a trafficker.

He asked parents if they had ever heard of a salad party.

A salad party is when people collect pills from home and bring them to a party or gathering with a group of friends. Everyone throws their pills in a bowl and one by one people pick out a pill and eat it.

 

Parent perspective

Lewisporte resident and Grade 10 parent Perry Pond was in attendance for the session. He thought it was a good way to start the conversation about issues surrounding drugs and alcohol.

“I really appreciate the people that took the initiative to start this conversation,” he said. “We probably would have never had it when I was younger and in school because the subject was taboo.”

Pond noted the session was a way to inform parents of what is around them, available and what their children can potentially become involved in.

“It’s here and it’s real,” he said. “We can’t hide and pretend it doesn’t affect us because we’re a smaller centre.”

He is looking forward to more sessions so that parents can learn as much as possible and do what they can to help prevent drug issues in the future.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

 

 

 

What’s available

 

Retired RCMP officer, Harold Nippard listed the types of drugs that were available in the Lewisporte area:

• Marijuana — Stays in your system for up to 30 days.

• Hash/hash oil — Stronger than marijuana; one in five people that use it will become addicted.

• Cocaine — Can be smoked, snorted or injected with a needle; can be mixed with other substances.

• LSD — Up to 30 days after use you can suffer from kickback and do things you would normally never do such as self-harm.

• Crystal meth — Only takes one use to become addicted.

• Fentanyl — Can overdose on three grains; one pill mixed with a drink of rum can kill you; RCMP are given special gear to wear if they have to come in contact with it because of its potency.

• Shatter – 80-90 per cent stronger that marijuana or hash and has been seized in Lewisporte.

• Rohypnol — also known as the date-rape drug

 

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