By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley Weekly is beginning a look into the drug culture within our community. Illegal drug use is not something that is unique to our area; communities around the country, in fact around the world, are struggling with this issue. In our upcoming articles we will look into the myths and the facts of what we are facing. We will attempt to trace how drugs get into our area, the signs to watch out for in your teen and what is being done to protect our kids.
In the last few weeks, teens have been caught not only under the influence of drugs on school campuses but arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale. In layman’s terms, they were dealing. The drugs lately have been a variety from Ecstasy to LSD and prescription drugs taken, apparently, from family medicine cabinets.
Crescenta Valley High School Principal Linda Evans said she had spoken with a student who had been involved in one of the recent drug arrests at the school.
“The student was amazed by the [consequences] ,” she said. Evans decided that it might be a good time to reintroduce the drug policy information to the student body.
“Even though the policies are in the bulletin and announcements are made, we thought we should go into the classrooms,” she said.
The administrators also informed the students of a change in protocol that implements a zero tolerance policy for those caught with alcohol or drugs on campus.
“Basically a student who is found under the influence [or in possession] of alcohol or marijuana will be suspended for five days, and subject to involuntary transfer for their first offense,” Evans said.
In the past there would be a five day suspension only.
Additionally if a student is found in possession of or under the influence of a narcotic they will automatically receive a five day suspension and will be considered for expulsion, she said.
“These are serious consequences,” Evans said.
She added that students seemed to take the announcements seriously and some applauded when she was finished.
“That indicated to me that most of the students really want a drug free campus,” she said.
But there are some that will take a chance no matter what the costs.
Lt. Bruce Fox of the Glendale narcotics unit said that there is a real problem in Crescenta Valley with drug use.
He said that the department has compiled a map of where drug sales are most prevalent and there are areas in Crescenta Valley that are on the top of the list.
When asked if the department finds more drug use in the Crescenta Valley area he said, “Absolutely, more than other areas in Glendale, but this isn’t new. Drugs have [often] been more prevalent in north Glendale [Crescenta Valley],” he said.
Fox said what he has seen is an increase in heroin use, which is alarming. “This is really a serious problem.”
Students on campus have their own language and signals that indicate what they may be on at the time or where the next party is, allege one concerned parent.
“Everyone was pretty quiet and a little scared,” said Simon Karlsson, CVHS junior, when Associate Principal Chris Coulter spoke of the suspension/expulsion policy to his class.
“It seemed like most kids took it seriously, but most kids that do drugs at school will still do them and hope they don’t get caught,” he said.