JUST SAY NO: Troy police warn TES students about drugs

Published 4:00 am Friday, November 2, 2018

Troy police sat alongside Troy Elementary students Thursday in the school cafeteria to build relationships with the children and teach them about saying no to drugs.

The police were invited as part of Red Ribbon Week, a weeklong campaign to teach children about the danger of drugs.

“There’s no better age than the elementary school age to talk to them,” said Capt. Danny Barron of the Troy Police Department. “They’re at the age when they still look at police officers as their heroes. That’s the time to really start building that relationship with the community.”

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Barron said it isn’t just Red Ribbon Week that police interact with students either.

“We encourage officers to really any time to go by there and eat lunch and talk with the kids,” Barron said. “We want them to be OK with talking to us. When some of the kids there see a police officer outside of school, it might not be for a good reason – they might be taking mom or dad or brother or sister to jail. They need to see us outside of that situation.”

Many of these students may already be facing difficult home situations and some are already aware of drugs in their home or around them. Barron said it is critical to get the message about the dangers of drug use to these children while the opportunity is there.

“The biggest thing is you try to tell them how dangerous it is and educate them and talk to them about it,” Barron said. “We have a red ribbon week, but teachers and adults need to make sure kids are hearing once a  week how dangerous drugs are. We tell them you don’t know what strangers may be giving you either. We try to put that in their heads and hopefully they’ll remember it. You can’t be there in the home with them, so you’ve got to tell them while you’ve got them there in school or any other opportunities you have.”

Barron said fatherlessness is a major factor as well in drug abuse.

“Other men have to step up for kids that don’t have fathers,” Barron said. “We have a lot of kids with fatherless homes. Adolescents that grew up without a father, or an unconcerned father, are at a higher risk of drug abuse, alcohol abuse and sexual abuse. And I don’t have statistics, but I’m willing to say 90 percent or better of our crimes relate back to drugs. That’s probably a conservative estimate.”