Aug 11, 2015

Police expert to talk drug and alcohol prevention with Cody parents

Learning to spot the early signs of drug or alcohol use can make a big difference in the life of an adolescent. Boise, Idaho, police officer Jermaine Galloway will give parents and others the tools to spot those signs during some Tuesday presentations for Park County Wellness Week.

Galloway will give a free program for parents at 6 p.m. at the Cody Presbyterian Church, 2025 23rd St.  Free pizza will be served prior to the presentation, beginning at 5:15 p.m., and free babysitting will be available.

A nationally-recognized expert on the prevention of substance use, Galloway tailors his presentations to address trends and issues germane to each community. He does that by researching and visiting local spots that may have merchandise promoting drug or alcohol use.

“What does the community have out there in terms of product placement and what are youth exposed to?” are questions Galloway tries to answer in his community visits.

“Kids are going to be exposed, but we can reduce the amount of exposure and find out what they’re doing,” he adds.

He says kids differ in what attracts their attention, and he bases his information on current issues in the schools and the area. Galloway says his presentations are not meant to scare parents, and that his focus is on prevention.

“No one thing means anything. It does not necessarily mean kids are using drugs, but maybe it’s a different type of conversation” you should have with your kids, he advises parents.

Galloway says he’s passionate about preventing of drug and alcohol use, having spent the last 14 years educating people around the globe about the effects and consequences, especially for kids.

“Kids are going to be exposed, but we can reduce the amount of exposure and find out what they’re doing,” Galloway says.

Galloway keeps up on trends in drug and alcohol use and shows parents and audience members how clothing items may conceal drugs or paraphernalia, and the hidden meanings in slogans on clothing that promote drugs and alcohol.

“You can’t stop what you don’t know,” he says.

Galloway says it’s important to detect the early signs and redirect a teenager toward making better choices, rather than allowing them to slide down a slope that increases the chances of violent or criminal behavior.

“It’s important to address the core issues that prevent other issues," he says. "A lot of times, it’s the same as for adults, with kids getting into assaults and fighting: someone gets drunk and gets themselves in trouble.”

Galloway recommends contacting the school resource officer and getting treatment and counseling for your child if they're using drugs or alcohol.

“Sweeping it under the rug isn’t the way to go. At least talk to someone. Be the parent,” he says. “You don’t want your kid to be a drug addict when they’re 40.”

People must be 18 or older to attend Galloway's presentation in Cody. To register for the free child care, call 578-2708 or email 11pccasa@gmail.com.

In addition to the parents event in Cody, a presentation for professionals is set for 1 p.m. in the Yellowstone Room at Northwest College in Powell.

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