“Rampant” is the word that Trustee Karen Yelsey said was used by a Newport Beach narcotics officer. What follows is Yelsey’s description of a meeting in which she learned of the problem. (Note: Yelsey was clearly affected by the meeting and spoke passionately on the subject. The punctuation I’ve used in the transcription below does not reflect her delivery – it’s a reflection of my inexperience as a transcriber.)

“I was at the Corona del Mar High School PTA meeting last week. The presentation was orchestrated by Officer [unintelligible] Anderson but he brought with him a narcotics officer from Newport Beach and it was a real eye-opener for the parents there. But I think it’s something that parents throughout our district need to be aware of because some people want to deny that there is a drug problem here.

 “But when you bring a narcotics officer who’s not a narcotics officer for all of Orange County – he’s a narcotics officer for Newport Beach – and he’s saying ‘drugs are rampant in Newport Beach.’ And it’s not only that – it used to be that marijuana was the socially acceptable drug – now even the marijuana that they have is more synthetic made so it’s more dangerous because they have all these other things in it but the drug of choice now is heroin. There are kids using heroin and that’s not easy to get them off of.

 “While he was speaking – this is a guy who has been on the police force for ten years – he looked like a high school senior – he was dressed like a high school senior – he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and I guess that’s why he does it because he fits right in – everyone there had their eyes wide open listening him speak.

 “He was talking about, for instance, if you see aluminum foil in your kid’s room and an empty cartridge of a ball point pen, they’re probably not making peanut butter sandwiches with the foil. They’re using it to take a piece of foil and they have heroin on it and they burn it from underneath they take out the ink from the ballpoint pen and they inhale it. And they get addicted quickly and he said if you don’t think people get addicted from marijuana, he said that’s where everybody he’s talked to who is on harder drugs started – on marijuana. Before that they got Oxycontin, they got Adderol, they got the Vicodin from their own home.

 “So it’s something that parents throughout our district just need to be aware of. You can’t put your head in the sand and think it’s not happening. We’ve gotta make sure we all talk to our kids.”

Yelsey learned something very important at that meeting. She brought it to her colleagues on the board and to taxpayers and she deserves credit for that.

The problem – and there always seems to be a problem these days – is that Yelsey delivered this message at a school board meeting three months ago.

So, here is today’s quiz: Guess what has happened since Yelsey discussed the severity of the teen drug problem:

a) The school district invested in a district-wide digital (online) campaign to educate parents on how to spot potential drug abuse in their kids.
b) The district has held a series of meetings with the police departments of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa to coordinate live appearances at all middle and high schools.
c) The district has organized a committee of superintendents from other Orange County districts to lobby Sacramento for funds for a campaign to alert parents.
d) All of the above
e) None of the above

If you guessed “e,” you are correct. Three months after Yelsey said, “I think it’s something that parents throughout our district need to be aware of…” neither she, nor her colleagues, nor anyone in the administration – including the superintendent (who lives in Long Beach) – has done anything.

If you’re not surprised, good for you. If you are surprised, your homework is to go into the archives of this blog and read at least 30 days of posts.

Yes, drug use is a real problem. The irony is Yelsey saying, “You can’t put your head in the sand and think it’s not happening,” which is exactly what the district has done. Again.

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