On April 27, Oceanside Middle School welcomed officer Jermaine Galloway, founder of the Tall Cop Says Stop program to Oceanside, where he educated teachers, parents, and community members on the latest drug trends and drug related behaviors of teenagers. With over 20 years of experience in law enforcement and drug recognition, Galloway’s High in Plain Sight lecture covered a plethora of drug facts, awareness, prevention and more.
Hosted by the Oceanside SAFE Coalition, a local organization fighting rampant drug and alcohol abuse, one of the main takeaways from the presentation was that drugs today are not the same as drugs forty years ago.
Galloway emphasized during his presentation that drugs are now more potent than ever before, including synthetic drugs that are stronger than nicotine and easily accessible. Additives like the cough suppressant Dextromethorphan, fentanyl, and psychedelic NBOMe are also more nuanced drugs that were mentioned by Galloway and deadlier than other drugs such as Kratom, which he referred to as ‘gas station heroin;’ which is being sold locally on Long Beach Road.
He described the dangers of using stronger drugs and the increasing demand for fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, comparing the use of drugs to getting coffee at a coffee shop, where over time people may need stronger doses to achieve the same effect. He then warned the audience of the fatal mistake of mixing drugs that interact together catastrophically.
Such as xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, which is being mixed with fentanyl. Xylazine is a depressant but not a painkiller, and when mixed with fentanyl, it reduces the effectiveness of Narcan, a commonplace medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. Meaning the mixture of xylazine and fentanyl is especially dangerous because it is less likely to be reversed by Narcan.
Often, teenagers don’t understand the complexity of how different drugs affect the body until it’s too late, Galloway stated, emphasizing how parents must start researching and educating themselves on these complexities by simply Googling what is available around the house, and possibly in their child’s possession.
“It’s not just about marijuana and alcohol anymore,” he said, now young people are experimenting with new and dangerous substances such as synthetic cannabinoids, also known as Spice or K2, which are often marketed as legal alternatives to marijuana. These drugs are made by spraying a chemical onto plant material, and their effects can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Another trend that Officer Galloway discussed was the abuse of prescription drugs. He explained that many young people believe that prescription drugs are safe because they are prescribed by doctors.
However, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs when misused. “Kids are going into their parents’ medicine cabinets and taking these drugs without knowing the risks,” said Galloway.
“Community involvement in drug prevention is vital,” said Alison Eriksen, the project coordinator of the Oceanside SAFE Coalition, “and attending presentations like “Tall Cop” is just a small part of what we should all be doing to make our community a safer place. Substance use is constantly evolving, and it’s up to us as teachers, parents, government officials, counselors and community members to make sure we know what is being made available to youth in our own backyards.”
Eriksen continued, “That way, we can take the necessary steps to make sure we are limiting access and providing the appropriate prevention initiatives to keep our kids as healthy and safe as possible.”