A bullet converted into a pipe, and packets of psychoactive substances, are being used by police to teach local kids the dangers of drug abuse.
The confiscated materials, including a packet of new psychoactive substances (NPS) found by a two-year-old girl in a Millbrook play park last year, are now being used in local schools and community centres as part of the PSNI’s Community and Safety Education (CASE) initiative.
Constables Andy and Colin from Larne Neighbourhood Policing Team recently gave a talk to Year 10 Larne High School pupils on the dangers of drug abuse, followed by a Pizza With Peelers event with Preventing Addiction Larne (PAL) and the Factory Community Forum at Greenland Community Centre.
“We showed the school pupils the real seized exhibits, including a 763mm bullet which had been made into a smoking pipe and packets of psychoactive substances,” said Constable Andy.
“We also show them a video of ‘lab rats’: guys with sunken features and red eyes who have been using NPS, formerly known as ‘legal highs’.
“They are shown lying in a pool of vomit and we are able to have the conversation and say to kids, ‘This is reality’ and then we talk about it.
“We have seen this happening ourselves when we are called out to incidents.”
Andy says that Year 10 (aged 13-14), is a good time to educate children on the dangers of drug abuse. “It is a good age to target as our work is aimed at prevention,” he explained.
“It’s teaching them the need to respect their own bodies and not take these things. Some kids are streetwise, others fall into peer pressure.
“There will always be something out there, prescription drugs or something else.
“We show them material which is age-appropriate as the reality would be too traumatic.”
Colin added: “We have tried our best not to be overbearing and prescriptive, we simply show them the risks in taking these substances in the hopes that they make the right decision.”
Both officers believe that there has been a decrease in the use of NPS in Larne since the closure of the Dunluce Street head shop Northern Lights, and the implementation of the new Psychoactive Substances Bill on Thursday, May 26.
“We used to engage in operations at the bus and train depots, with people coming from Belfast,” Andy told the Times.
“We spoke to one man who was visibly an addict, he was addicted to heroin, but he had come to Larne to buy £100 of ‘legal highs’ in one go as he said he was trying to stay within the law.”
In addition to the CASE talks, the officers also hold lunch time surgeries at Larne High School to enable school kids to talk to them confidentially and in a familiar environment.
“It’s about breaking down barriers,” Andy added. “The kids are smart. We have also been involved in initiatives such as tackling cyber bullying and ‘Stranger Danger’.”
The officers hope to gain funding to take the talks and Pizza With Peelers events to more schools and community centres in the future.
“I think these talks really prepare kids and I believe that every school should receive these talks at least once,” Andy concluded.
To report drug crime, phone the police non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.