Campus Crime Stoppers identifies top issues encountered by students

Student tips are helping Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas address some of the biggest issues on school campuses, but parents still need to be involved.

Ten minutes after a phone interview with Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas, a tip came in. It’s not about murder or theft. It’s not because of age.

This anonymous tip came from a child.

“This is a sign for kids about underage smoking and drinking,” said Crime Stoppers Director and Campus Coordinator Jeremy Raley, who did not provide further details about the anonymous sign. “That’s the sad thing about it, when we get these. It’s sad for me because I’m a parent.”

Another 10 minutes have passed. Another morning message will be given.

Meanwhile, it’s about a big problem that Raley says is bigger than drinking and smoking: vaping.

Important issues

In recent years, Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas launched a new campus program that educates children and meets David’s law requirements by giving students a way to report name for school tips to Crime Stoppers.

“The number one issue in every school is shootings,” Raley said, adding that it’s a huge problem for Southeast Texas and the state. “…These kids think they’re bullets, nothing’s going to happen to them, and it’s a good thing to do.”

Bullying, fighting and mental health issues follow vaping as major issues, he said.

The vaping breakthrough

Vaping is the use of electronic cigarettes, which national health officials have called dangerous for teenagers. E-cigarettes work by heating water to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“The liquid contains: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid oils (CBD), and other chemicals, flavors, and additives. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that produces the ‘high.’” the comments said.

State laws and school policies prohibit youth use and prohibit retailers from selling or distributing e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. .

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You suddenly

This year, at one school alone, Raley received 150 tips within a week and a half after his presentation at one of the schools. Students often report where they saw a classmate shooting, including in less-observed places such as in a bathroom or behind a building.

One day, Raley witnesses an incident at the university with his own eyes.

“I was at school and a student was eating breakfast. He hits a vape and falls over. He had to go to the emergency room,” Raley said. “That’s what happens. Schools spend a lot of money to prevent that, and the damage is done elsewhere. Vape monitors cost a lot of money.

Raley said a vape detector costs about $1,100 and said school districts are trying to purchase the equipment, but they may have to buy multiple detectors for multiple locations.

“You have to put it in every bathroom, locker room, anywhere a student has access to a minimum of student supervision,” Raley said. “You’re talking a lot of money, it’s just for the product. That doesn’t include the phone and the cooling. That’s a lot of money for a district to pay.”

The Centers for Disease Control reports that smoking continues to cause “E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use Lung Injury” and death across the United States. As of February 2020, more than 2,800 cases and more than 60 deaths were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reports said 15% of cases were under the age of 18, and more than 35% were between the ages of 18 and 24.

According to the Poison Centers of America, there has been a significant increase in reported cases related to vaping. The data shows that about 1,500 cases were reported for all ages in 2013. As of October 31, poison centers have handled more than 5,400 reported cases of e-cigarette devices and nicotine. water this year only.

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Raley believes that one reason for the growth is accessibility and the sweet, candy-like appearance that appeals to young people. He has seen vapors or electronic cigarettes “available” at many vape shops in “every city” and convenience stores.

“There are a lot of flavors out there that kids like,” Raley said.

Raley said some consumers don’t check the signs and are concerned about the ease with which people can buy vapes for teenagers and that youth are not as secretive as cigarettes.

“They have the look of a marker and pencil, so they’re easy to hide,” Raley said. “If you don’t think about it, most of the time it doesn’t get checked.”

To help with the problem, Raley teaches school children about vaping products, which can sometimes contain dangerous or illegal substances, including Fentanyl – a synthetic opioid that says the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is 50-100 times stronger than morphine.

“When you break down and look at it, it’s bad,” Raley said.

Nicotine is harmful to young people because the human brain continues to develop until age 25, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts and officials are still researching the long-term effects of vaping, including mental health.

“Nicotine use in adolescents can damage the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and control,” the Centers for Disease Control reports. . “Each time a new memory is formed, a new skill is learned, the connections – or synapses – between brain cells become stronger.

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“Younger brains develop faster than older brains. Nicotine changes the structure of these synapses. Using nicotine as a teenager may increase the risk of addiction to other drugs.

Parent involvement

Raley, whose parents smoked and died from lung cancer, was an example when she spoke about people who have suffered from the negative effects of smoking, including a mother who He said he was hospitalized in a coma with pneumonia-like symptoms.

Raley and health officials urge parents to help their children by being “good role models” for them.

“A student came up to me crying,” Raley said, thinking for a moment after a presentation on vaping. ” He (the student) said, ‘I begged them to stop.’ I said, well, don’t give up. Tell them what happened to you today and how you want them to be in your future.

“Parents also need to understand that some of them are not helping in this situation, especially if they are vapers,” Raley said.

South Texas County Sheriff’s Office and health officials want parents to get involved. The Centers for Disease Control offers tips for parents to talk to kids about vaping.

School zones have safe meetings and a lot of information that parents may not know is available about issues like vaping, Raley said. He noticed that attendance was low, but he still heard parents and guardians complaining and asking what was going on in the school campuses.

“The only way to find out is to get involved in your school,” Raley said. “Imagine if the parents and guardians of the students paid enough attention to their child to know what is going on and know how to help the school. Not many people came when we talked about them and told them what was going on.

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