Police tell signs of drug usage

William Thompson

Corporal Darrick Shaw of Tucumcari Police spoke at Tucumcari Middle School for about 45 minutes last week. He was there to give parents information on illegal drugs so parents could look for signs of drug use in their children.

Shaw said only one parent showed up at the seminar in addition to Martha Stephens, a counselor at the school.
“I really wish more parents had shown up because there was a lot of important information given out,” he said.
Shaw said he did his best to give a good presentation nonetheless.

Stephens said the drug seminar was competing with basketball games in the area that evening.
“Corporal Shaw and I gave information and we showed a film that told parents how to tell if their children were using drugs,” said Stephens. “We don’t have a major drug problem at the middle school but drugs have been found in the past.”

Shaw said middle school students are aware of the community’s drug culture. He said crystal meth is a drug they are aware of. “I do know that there are junior high kids experimenting with that narcotic,” said Shaw, “but I’m not aware of any big drug problem in the middle school. It’s just important to reach kids at an early age.”

Shaw said crystal meth is highly addictive but ultimately it is peer pressure that leads children and teens to experiment with drugs. Stephens furnished a handout at the seminar that gave tell-tale signs of youth drug use. The information was compiled by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

According to the handout, one sign for parents to look for is a sudden change in interests, in particular a loss of interest in academics or sports. Shaw said that as a parent, the first red flag he would look for is the child veering away from old friends. “I would look for signs of the child losing interest in the family and hanging out with new friends.,” said Shaw. “Making new friends is not unusual, but no longer doing things with their normal friends is unusual.”

Shaw brought photos of various drugs to the seminar.
“I brought some crystal meth and I took photos of other drugs,” said Shaw. “I also brought examples of various drug paraphernalia.” Local law enforcemnt officials say crystal meth is an ongoing problem in Tucumcari