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Katy England Katy England
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Drug test

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Parents learn about drug identification and paraphernalia with local law enforcement 

MILFORD Parents and teachers gathered at the Lewis Libby School in Milford to enjoy a nice spaghetti supper, nosh on desserts - and learn how to determine if their children or students may be on drugs.

Chief Deputy Troy Morton, Trooper Barry Merserve and Deputy Ray Goodspeed gave a presentation on the problems that substance abuse poses and showed parents and teachers how to recognize what drugs are prevalent and how to identify drug paraphernalia. The presentation was called Drug Identification and Paraphernalia and was centered less around the physiological symptoms of drug abuse than ways parents and teachers can recognize actual drugs and their packaging, and ways kids can hide these items sometimes in plain sight.

'[The presentation] is for parents and teachers. We're showing them the trends that are going on locally and things to be on the lookout for,' explained Morton. The presentation covered the six most common types of substances that are in use, including alcohol, synthetic drugs (bath salts and newer incarnations of these designer drugs), prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Morton said that identifying drug use by only looking for physical signs on a teenager going through physical or emotional life changes can be an exercise in frustration for parents and teachers. He suggested looking for more concrete signs, and showed parents drug paraphernalia and how it can mask itself as everyday items. Examples included digital scales hidden in CD or DVD cases and water pipes or bongs that look like decorative figurines.

'These things are paraphernalia and hiding spots,' said Morton. He said they were surer signs of drug abuse than red eyes or behavioral changes, which in teens can be caused by any number of things.

The presentation underscored the real risks facing local teens and the dangers posed by underage drinking and drug use.

'For us, it's about trying to educate people. We want to stop this from happening,' he said to the assembled crowd.

The presentation connected parents and educators with various community resources that are available to help stem some of the substance abuse including the next local Drug Take Back initiative on April 28.

For more information visit www.penobscot-county.net or call 947-4585.

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