Mission CISD is expanding their drug free efforts to a year-around operation.
Professionals from different departments in the district were selected to make up the United in Safety Task Force. Throughout the year, the team will host presentations on drug awareness.
Before spring break, the task force partnered with Mission Police Department and Mission Crime Stoppers to educate the students on drugs and alcohol abuse. In addition, they presented on synthetic marijuana.
Also known as kush or spice, synthetic marijuana is actually a synthetic cannabinoid chemical, which is a compound that is sprayed on dried plant material. The substance can be smoked or liquidized to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes. It mimics the effects of THC, which is naturally found in marijuana and how it adopted the name “synthetic marijuana.”
Some of the side effects can include projectile vomiting, heart attack or acute kidney injury, but users have no way to predict how they will react to the drug.
In 2010, a 17 year old from Iowa committed suicide after smoking synthetic marijuana, and in August 2014, a 19 year old from California died after a single inhalation of synthetic marijuana.
“As parents and administrators and educators, sometimes we think that we’re ahead of the game and we’re not,” said Cynthia Wilson, task force member and executive director for secondary education. “It’s important that we do keep ourselves well-informed and educated and that’s why we’re bringing this together.”
The task force will host a United In Safety Parent Conference on Drug Awareness to discuss the effects of synthetic marijuana. The symposium will offer three sessions for the parents to rotate through – a synthetic marijuana presentation, signs, symptoms and communication and resources.
The event will be at Veterans Memorial High School Gym from 8 a.m. to noon.
“We have a lot of parents that feel, this doesn’t pertain to my family. Then when it hits them, (they’re) already in reaction mode; we’re trying to be proactive,” Superintendent Ricardo Lopez said. “We’ve had parents say ‘I don’t want to go there because then people will think my kid has a drug problem.’ It’s about maybe helping another person or being informed. This is something that is a healthy thing to look at.”
Wilson said the task force will later expand to topics such as mental health, suicide, bullying and human trafficking.