Seminar sheds light on county’s drug use trends

Published 5:06 pm Friday, October 5, 2018

PELHAM – Members of drug prevention teams from throughout the county gathered on Sept. 25 at County Services Building to learn about the drug trends present in Shelby County.

Alan Miller, director of Compact 2020 and chief assistant district attorney for Shelby County, said the purpose of the teams is to push back against the current culture and keep children from being tempted to try drugs for as long as possible.

These community prevention teams were started by Compact 2020 in an effort to address drug-related problems, especially among the youth, in specific areas. Miller said the teams are made up of representatives from 12 different sectors, such as local law enforcement, fire and EMS, city government, business owners, youth service organizations, local schools and more.

So far, teams have been started in Pelham, Chelsea, Alabaster, Montevallo, Hoover and in the Oak Mountain/Indian Springs area. Each city’s team works together to identify problems or needs in the community and come up with possible solutions.

“This information shared is intended to arm our prevention teams with information so they can fight back,” said Capt. Clay Hammac, commander of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force, who led the presentation about county drug trends.

Hammac discussed legal medicines, such as cold and sinus medications and Robitussin, and prescription medications, like Adderall and pain meds, being misused by teenagers to get high. He said teens are also putting illegal substances in vapes and e-cigarettes.

“It used to be an insult to be called a helicopter parent, but today I would wear it as a badge of honor,” he said. “There has never been a more critical time than now to stand in the gap for our kids and speak truth into them. We cannot legislate and arrest our way out of this. We have to arm our parents and communities with good information to protect themselves.”

Miller encouraged the prevention teams to remain steadfast.

“Stay encouraged, this is the best shot we’ve got,” he said. “Take the info you learn here and apply it in your city.”

Each team will go through a strategic planning process to come up with a game plan.

Meredith Frazier, district manager of Birmingham CVS Pharmacy locations, said she intended to take the info she learned at the event and cascade it down to the pharmacies in her district.

“Sometimes we do have parents who come in asking us questions so this will help us help them,” she said. “We also go into schools and do presentations about the dangers of opioids so this gives us more information to share with students.”

She said she was surprised to learn about the dangers of some botanicals from Southeast Asia.

Miller said Compact 2020 is in need of more community partnerships to help combat drug use in Shelby County. To find out how to get involved, visit Compact