Sheriff Smith supports Red Ribbon Week

Published 11:55 am Monday, October 23, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
Red Ribbons will be decorating the halls of area schools this week in recognition of Drug Awareness Week. The annual event is scheduled for Oct. 23 through 31 this year and will be filled with speeches, activities and information about drugs and their effects on users and their loved ones.
"There is too much money in the drug business," Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said. "We won't be able to stop the drug business until we do something about the demand."
In today's society, everyone is aware of the drug war being fought by law enforcement agencies across the United States.
"The war we are fighting on drugs makes the war in Iraq pale by comparison," Smith said. "The only way we can win the war is to stop the desire for the substances."
Drugs affect men, women and children across the nation. Statistics show that pre-teens usually begin their drug use with alcohol and could possibly move on to other drugs as they grow older.
"I have seen older adults with drug problems involving cocaine and methamphetamines," Smith said. "The problems aren't age selective. The problems we see involve people aged from preteen to folks in their 50s and 60s."
There are facilities situated throughout the gulf coast area that specialize in the treatment of drug users.
"Rehabilitation facilities and intervention programs are overwhelmed," Smith said. "We need to be more proactive in schools, churches and homes to help eliminate drug problems and educate people on just what drugs can do to them, their family and their friends."
Internet activity revolving around the sale and production of drugs is growing daily and is a multi-million dollar industry, Smith said.
A website hosted by the United Nations Information Service states the International Narcotics Control Board is scheduling meetings among heads of states to help find a solution to the problem.
"Because it provides easy access to controlled drugs, the Internet is becoming an important route for trafficking by on-line pharmacies. These pharmacies illegally provide prescription drugs to clients worldwide, but without the required prescriptions. They are used as a source by drug addicts and provide the means for large-scale dealing to a practically unlimited number of customers," the site said.
These prescription drugs often contain narcotics and psychotropic substances with properties similar to illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Demand is high for some of these controlled pharmaceuticals, which are often abused by drug addicts as their first drug of choice. Others may become unwittingly dependent on drugs if they take them without medical supervision. In practical terms it is easier to access drugs via online pharmacies, which are just a mouse-click away, than by seeking professional help or by forging prescriptions or by theft, the site said.
"These internet pharmacies are making it just as easy to get drugs as walking to the street corner," Smith said. "It's really a shame, but the Internet has become one of the best and one of the worst things to become available in the home."
Escambia County Schools are planning activities throughout the week to promote awareness concerning drug use.

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