East Grand parents attend ACT on Drugs presentation
January 19, 2017
A recent incident involving narcotics and students from the East Grand School District (EGSD) has prompted an investigation from the Granby Police Department and cautious action from school officials. In the midst of all this are parents, who are often left confused and bewildered by the latest drug related cultural phenomenon. Attempting to wrap your mind around the reality of narcotics is no easy task; to those with no frame of reference the prevalence of illegal drug use can be shocking.
Mountains of information exist out there but it can be difficult to even separate fact from fiction. That is when it helps to have an expert. Lynn Riemer is sometimes called, "the Martha Stewart of Meth"; a title she seems to relish. Her business card features the pointed, comical and provocative question, "Got Meth?"
A former forensic chemist with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Riemer now spends her time teaching students, parents, school staff and police officers around the country about the trends in America's illicit drug trade. On Tuesday, Jan. 17 Riemer twice showed her "ACT on Drugs" presentation to parents of the EGSD; once in Winter Park and once in Granby. Her presentations this week for parents were similar to the ones she gave last week to students and school staff.
Riemer covered an array of topics from the types of drugs kids are most likely to encounter today, means of use/ingestion, common legal narcotics, long-term and short-term affects of use, and more. She spent a significant amount of time covering marijuana, marijuana edibles, vaping, and concentrates; issues of paramount concern to many parents in Colorado where marijuana is legal. She also delved into what she termed society's, "number one problem" as it relates to drugs: alcohol.
Riemer started her presentation by asking a simple question: Why? Why do people use drugs? Her answer was straightforward but served to highlight the complexity of fighting drug use.
"Drugs make you feel good," Riemer said.
"Or not feel at all." She explained that drug users are often looking for "euphoria" or "tranquility".
She highlight the unique world children live in today where peer pressure is more pervasive than it was in past decades, due largely to social media.
The ACT on Drugs presentation covered a wide variety of conveyance methods for ingesting drugs. Some methods, such as snorting or smoking, are well known to just about every American with a TV. But some methods were less well known such as vaping and parachuting.
Riemer delved deep into the topic of marijuana. She highlighted that modern marijuana is significantly more potent than marijuana grown decades ago, due to genetic modification from growers in places like Colorado and Washington State.
"We live in ground zero for marijuana in the world," Riemer said.
"Colorado has the most potent marijuana out there. We have the largest black market for marijuana."
She also discussed edibles in depth. Edibles have an endless variety of shapes and sizes but are often sold as candies, sweets or baked goods that look identical to non-marijuana infused treats.
"I tell kids, 'don't take anything from anyone unless it is labeled and sealed properly," Riemer said.
She also touched on marijuana concentrates, often called dabs, wax or shatter. Marijuana concentrates are created through processes that extract the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, while removing the rest of the plant. The potency of concentrates is far stronger than marijuana the plant and has become widespread in Colorado since recreational legalization.
The expansiveness of the modern marijuana industry in Colorado can be dizzying so Riemer encouraged parents to go into a marijuana shop to see the reality of the situation for themselves; an action Riemer pointed out is legal in the State.
When asked what the number one takeaway parents should get from the presentation is Riemer said:
"Don't be naïve. You kids know about these things. They just want their parents to be honest with them. Our job is to give kids the tools, so that when they are confronted with something they know what to do."
Riemer suggested that simply talking openly with your children about the realities of drugs and drug use could be among the most effective prevention tools.