In recent years, the Coppell Police Department has begun to put more emphasis on ensuring its citizens are not involved in the abuse of drugs or over-the-counter medication.
Alcohol, marijuana, heroin and cocaine are some of the drugs that teens all over the nation are abusing, leaving many parents worried about their child’s safety.
In the spirit of Red Ribbon Week, Coppell Middle School North held a drug awareness event on the evening of Oct. 20. The event aimed to inform citizens of Coppell on the dangers behind drugs and precautionary measures that should be implemented to keep the town as safe as possible.
Parents filed into the CMSN cafeteria all with one goal in mind: to keep their children safe and drug-free.
Booths lined the periphery of the room, equipped with drug testing kits and information about poison control, crime prevention and programs such as Coppell Police Explorers for parents to peruse.
The event began with a presentation held by public health educator Cristina Thomas, who works at the North Texas Poison Control Center. The presentation outlined the many kinds of drugs, both illegal and over-the-counter, that have been seen in Coppell and nearby areas among teens.
Thomas debunked many of the common misconceptions about drugs and explained how drugs have evolved over the years compared to what parents may be familiar with.
The presentation was followed by a question and answer session with the police, targeted at addressing parents common concerns regarding their children.
“Sometimes parents have some denial that ‘[drug use] doesn’t happen in Coppell’ or ‘no not my child,’” said Brad Hunt, CISD assistant superintendent and event coordinator. “We need to take down any stigma [about drugs] because it’s important people don’t think ‘I don’t want to go to this drug event because I don’t want people thinking my child does drugs’.”
Many parents left the event feeling shocked about the extent of teen drug abuse, yet comforted that they are not alone in combatting this issue.
“Before coming to this event, I didn’t realize that drug use was an issue at an age as young as those in middle school,” mother of two Zarana Barot said. “It’s really frightening, but [seeing] other parents in the same boat as me was reassuring.”
Afterwards, the many members of the Coppell Police Department, school administration and poison control workers stayed back for individual conversations with parents who still had further questions.
“We try to give [parents] some answers for how to make the community safer and take care of their kids,” said Captain Bill Knack of the Criminal Investigations Division. “I don’t like drugs, they’re evil. I’ve seen people I’ve grown up with get hooked on drugs, I’ve seen their lives go bad, and [this is] my way to try and make an impact.”