Drug task force: marijuana, pharmaceutical abuse huge among kids


BOZEMAN, Mont. - "How much does a gram of methamphetamine cost in Bozeman, Montana?" asked Lieutenant Jake Wagner with the Missouri River Drug Task Force.

He educated a room full of Bozeman residents on what drugs they're seeing around town, how people get access and how much they cost.

For example, meth labs aren't as much of a problem anymore- while heroin usage has spiked. But when it comes to kids?

"Marijuana is the most prevalent drug within our schools" Lt. Wagner said. "But secondly- and certainly making a rise- is the pharmaceutical abuse."

The drug task force commander said today's marijuana is five times stronger than it was a couple decades ago. And parents are often- and perhaps unknowingly- the largest supplier of prescription drugs to kids.

"Most of our kids are just getting it right out of you guys' medicine cabinets" Lt. Wagner said. He encouraged parents to take the temptation away. "Lets get rid of them, let's get them out of there" he said.

Lt. Wagner told parents the best way to detect drug use- and prevent it- is to get involved with their children, and know what's going on.

"As long as you know what your child is up to- know what their behaviors are, who they're hanging around with- you're going to be the quickest to catch on to an abuse situation" he said.

Danielle Salois is a parent who's oldest child just turned 13. She attended Thursday's presentation, and was shocked by what she learned.

"Just how prevalent the drug use is here in the schools, and just seeing all the different forms and how they're being used" she said.

Other parents said the same.

"Prescription drug use is so prevalent among teenagers- I did not know that" parent Sheri Bagley said.

"If it can be abused, it will be abused" Lt. Wagner said.

He said even the simplest household items like glue and cough syrup can turn into drugs.

But the more parents know, the better chance they have of keeping their kids safe.

The Drug Trends in our Community presentation was part of Red Ribbon Week, which raises awareness about drug and alcohol abuse.

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