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October 16, 2008
By Guia Del Prado
A professional development and training seminar on drug awareness called Drugs in Our Community will be held by the Reno Police Department and the Regional Street Enforcement Team on Friday, October 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium of the IGT-Mathewson Knowledge Center. The program is part of a federal grant to educate the community and proactively prevent drug use, drug addiction and further crimes as a result of drug use.
Stacy Shamblin, the methamphetamine coordinator in the Regional Street Enforcement Team said the program will focus on methamphetamine, since it is still one of the most used drugs in the region though usage levels from recent years have decreased. The seminar, also presented by Sergeant Mac Venzon, Officers Joe Lever and Andy Carter, will also cover different kinds of drugs, what they are, what they look like, the physical effects of the drug as well as the detriment to health and well-being that result from using these drugs.
“It’s just a way for us to reach the University staff and students,” Shamblin said. “We include basic facts about different drugs, what they look like and what they do to your body when you use them.”
The presenters will also cover the different skills needed to prevent loved ones, peers and especially children and teenagers from using or experimenting with these drugs.
“This is beneficial especially for parents,” Shamblin said. “As far as staff members who have kids, nephews or nieces, we’ll be showing them what they should be looking for, so they can know what skills they need to prevent the young people in their lives from going down that road.”
The seminar, though a basic educational program on drug use, will have a far reaching effect in the lives of everyone who attends. Shamblin said people are much less likely to experiment with drugs if they are educated about them and that drugs are responsible for a lot of crime in the region as well as social and economic issues.
“We see how much drug use affects everything,” Shamblin said. “A huge percentage of crimes are related to drug use. We are also aware of all the social problems and economic problems drug addictions cause. Everyone benefits when drug use and crime go down.”
The Drugs in Our Community seminar is a part of a program that offers educational seminars at local businesses and organizations. They are sometimes called “brown bag lunch” seminars, since the training is offered at a time and place most convenient for members and employees.
This program is housed under the Methamphetamine Initiative and was granted by the Community Oriented Policing Office Services Office of the Department of Justice. The program generally gives educational seminars at the major employers in the region. The seminar at the University of Nevada, Reno, is twofold in that it will not only target the many administration, faculty and staff employed on campus but also many of the students.