Tahoe drug culture explored at community forum
March 11, 2009
LAKE TAHOE ” Community members interested in learning more about the South Shore drug scene are invited to attend a Drug Awareness Community Night.
This is the second community night organized by the Community Youth Task Force. The first community night was in January and the topic was gang awareness.
Jeff Catchings, a commander with the South Lake Tahoe-El Dorado County Narcotics Enforcement Team, said officers will discuss the latest trends in drug use and how to tell if someone is using drugs. There will be time for questions and answers.
“It’s for people who want to hear more and get informed about the drug subculture in town,” Catchings said.
Marijuana will continue to be prevalent in the community, in part because of current statutes, Catchings said. Most people can identify users by the smell on their clothes and hair and the red eyes, he said.
The community has more indoor growing operations than other areas of the same size, Catchings said.
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Ecstasy is another drug prevalent in the community, Catchings said, and cocaine use is on the rise. He said agents used to only seize a few grams, but now they’re confiscating kilos.
Catchings attributes the growth of cocaine use to decrease in methamphetamine. Most of the large-scale meth manufacturers are across the border, making it easier to seize when it’s coming into the states.
The misuse of pharmaceutical drugs is also something parents need to watch out for, Catchings said. OxyContin is a problem in the area, and it’s easy to use and hard to detect, he added. Users become lethargic and almost zombie-like.
“When kids use it they’re an absolute mess, and it’s highly, highly addictive,” Catchings said.
A suspect in a recent series of robberies in South Lake Tahoe was a heavy OxyContin user who needed to support his habit, Catchings said.
“It changes people’s behaviors entirely,” Catchings said.
Community Youth Task Force: Drug Awareness
6 to 8 p.m. March 12 at the South Tahoe Middle School Multipurpose Room