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Cops Give Counselors Dope On Drugs At Teaneck Gathering

Bath salt drugs. Photo Credit:
Attendees at the Bergen County Prevention Coalition’s 2016 Alcohol, Tobacco, And Other Drugs Prevention Conference. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

TEANECK, N.J. — Think marijuana faded away? Think again, two narcotics detectives told a room of drug counselors, therapists, guidance counselors, and clergy at the “Tree of Addiction” conference in Teaneck Friday.

“Everybody thinks marijuana is regular green old school marijuana,” said Det. 1st Grade Jason Hornstra of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force.

“Today it comes in all shapes, forms, colors,” he added. “There’s Purple Kush, Strawberry Kush, Orange, White Widow.”

It’s coming mostly from California, also known as the Emerald Triangle, he added, and mostly is delivered through the mail, FedX, and UPS.

Cocaine? It’s coming back, too, said Hornstra, who presented a “Drug Trade Update” along with Det. Juan Arroyave, also of the task force.

Expected soon in Bergen County: Flakka, a new dangerous synthetic drug that mimicks the effects of bath salt drugs.

The group also learned that GHB, the date rape drug, looks like water but fizzes when shaken.

And that 82 percent of the world supply of heroin comes from Afghanistan.

Both law enforcement and those who work in schools and mental health found themselves on the same page at the Bergen County Prevention Coalition’s 2016 Alcohol, Tobacco, And Other Drugs Prevention Conference .

Held at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe, it drew some 100 people.

They gained knowledge not only of the latest trends but also of new tools that can be used in the effort to stop people from using drugs in the first place.

Nicole Thorpe of Garfield, a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, learned about the role of trauma in addiction.

“Once you stop the person from using, you can then assess what caused their addiction: Was the person stressed out? Was the person depressed?” she said. “You need to get at the heart of the situation instead of just attacking the addiction.”

The takeaway for two guidance counselors at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Lodi was learning how to start youth groups.

“The groups empower students to take leadership roles that educate them on prevention,” said Shannon Cappadonna, who attended with her colleague, Jodi Borrometi.

Yet another segment supported clergy.

Arroyave noted the 2014 arrest of 280 heroin users and 40 dealers – 100 from Bergen County – in a four-county sweep that targeted the open air heroin market in Paterson and elsewhere.

With those people off the streets, others moved in to fill the void.

“We realized we just cannot arrest our way out of this,” he said.

Now, every Friday, he and his colleagues are tasked with going to high schools and other venues to educate about what’s happening on the streets.

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