Texas law enforcement, corrections and school officials got the latest information on legal and illegal substance abuse as well as alternatives for treatment at the annual Drug Conference sponsored by the Correctional Management Institute of Texas.
The three-day Drug Recognition Conference, held in February in Austin, drew a diverse audience of 165 participants, including probation and parole officers, corrections personnel, law enforcement officers, school safety personnel and substance abuse counselors. The program included the physical and mental signs of methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs use; drug identification and hiding places; investigative techniques and officer safety; and addiction and rehabilitation alternatives.
The main session covered illegal, over-the-counter and prescription drugs and the symptoms of their use. Kenneth Caldwell of the Texas Department of Public Safety provided information on how to identify drugs, while Dawn Mathis of the Drug Enforcement Administration covered the identification and effects of over-the-counter and prescription medication.
Margaret Gilbert of One Source Toxicology Laboratory provided tips on the different ways people try to manipulate drug tests, from buying urine samples off of Ebay to stockpiling vials of their friend’s urine.
Cynthia Arredondo discussed new ways students were hiding drugs in school, including in coke bottles, tootsie rolls and the soles of their shoes.
This is the first year that breakout sessions were offered to participants, including one for law enforcement and probation/parole officers on the proper techniques to search for drugs and safety precautions that should be taken. Those sessions were presented by John Graham of Del Mar College.
A session also presented by Graham was dedicated to grant writing to help participants set up or fund programs. Finally, another session, given by Jocelyn Boudreau, offered alternatives when traditional rehab or addictions services don’t work.