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Parents learn dangers of synthetic drugs

10:40 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
  • Parents learn dangers of synthetic drugs
  • Parents learn dangers of synthetic drugs
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Tuesday evening, Knox County parents learned more about the kinds of drugs tempting young people in their community.

The event, called "The Synthetic Scare" was hosted by the Metropolitan Drug Commission, the Knox County District Attorney's Office, Rural/Metro and the Knox County Parent-Teacher Association.

The discussion at Hardin Valley Academy focused on synthetic drugs, which legislators made illegal in Tennessee in recent years.

"It's becoming more and more of a problem," said Knox County DA Randy Nichols. "It flies under the radar, you don't hear that much about it. It's killing our children."

Nichols explained, selling synthetic drugs or possessing them with the intent to sell can earn somebody a Class E felony charge. If convicted, the crime calls for one to six years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines.

During the event, a few dozen parents watched a movie detailing what synthetic drugs look like, discussed where people can buy them, and the other types of dangerous often used by students.

"It's amazing what's out there. It's amazing what these manufacturers are doing to our children," said Hardin Valley teacher Lisa Hendrickson, who is also a parent.

"Drug use is such a fluid thing. At one time it was this, and now it's that," added another parent, Jim Dee. He says he had heard of synthetic drugs before, but wanted to learn more.

"I talk to my daughter about these things," he said. "I think it's very important that [kids] learn how to process information, how they evaluate things going on, and why these things are not good."

As part of the company's nationwide campaign, "Not My Kid," Rural/Metro gave out free at-home drug test kits to parents during the event.

"We think, primarily, it has to do with starting the conversation, opening communication" said Rural/Metro's Darlene Kitts. "And it also has the advantage for the child, in that they can say, 'I can't participate. My parents are drug testing me.'"

While the kits don't screen for synthetic drugs, which are mostly undetectable, they can show positive for marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates, and many other drugs.

Kitts, a former nurse, says testing children at home could be a better alternative than a hospital for some families.

"It's not a very pleasant situation to drag a child into the emergency room to get tested for drugs. This is a more private, more personal [experience]."

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