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Upper Perk School Officials to Participate in Heroin Task Force
Written by Bradley Schlegel Staff Reporter
2016-06-01

        Jamie Lavin, a corporal with the Upper Perk Police District, is creating a task force to combat opioid use in the valley. On Thursday May 26, Lavin appeared at the Upper Perkiomen School Board workshop meeting to invite school officials to participate.

        Superintendent Alexis McGloin called the heroin task force a wonderful idea, adding that school district officials would be happy to participate.

        "We want to be part of the solution," McGloin said after the meeting.

        Utilizing an invitation from board member Wilfred Pike, III, Lavin discussed the severity of the opioid situation plaguing the region.  "My goal is to bring awareness to the drug problem in the Upper Perkiomen Valley," Lavin said after his presentation. "That starts in the middle school and the high school."

        The corporal is in the beginning stages of forming the Upper Perk Valley Heroin Task Force. Lavin said he hopes to recruit elected officials from local municipalities, representatives from the Upper Perkiomen Valley YMCA and school board, business owners, additional community stakeholders and others with knowledge/experience on the topic of drug addiction to participate.

        School board member Mike Elliot praised the officer for displaying leadership skills to organize the event.

        A town hall event involving multiple stakeholders is planned for September. According to Lavin, the purpose of this event is to bring awareness and to continue to formulate ideas on how to better the lives of those affected by drug addiction in the valley.

        "We are in the early phase of planning, so there is a lot of things that need to be taken care of," he wrote in an email.  

        According to Lavin, the organization would discuss potential initiatives to negate the drug use and methods by which to procure the money to fund them. "I have some ideas," the corporal said after his presentation.

        Lavin said he spends a majority of his time on the street dealing with the unlawful use of legal and illegal drugs and the related proceeds. Those cases involve a significant number of minors in varying degrees of addiction and involvement.

        During his presentation, Lavin told the school board the valley's proximity to Allentown, Reading, Pottstown and Philadelphia, along with relatively easy access to highways, make the region susceptible to this epidemic.

        The officer also cited a lack of adequate parental supervision and certain mediums that are pushing kids away from traditional values as factors "that are leading to this nightmare."

        One board member suggested incorporating the dangers of opioids into the district's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. Another asked Lavin if he would be willing to address students through an assembly.

        "I'm willing to do whatever you want," the officer said during the meeting.

        Pike described the difficulty of teaching kids on drugs, saying school officials see kids "go off the rails every year." He advised that intervention, rather than allowing the students to hit rock bottom, is far more advantageous.

        "Rock bottom is a bad idea, because kids die," Pike said during the meeting.

        According to McGloin, school officials have discovered marijuana and "maybe a few prescription pills" on students, but no heroine.


 

 

 

 

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