‘Let’s Talk’ series on fentanyl, vaping helps spread awareness to East Texas communities

‘Let’s Talk’ series on fentanyl, vaping helps spread awareness to East Texas communities
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 11:40 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON, Texas (KTRE) - Local leaders joined together at the Alabama Coushatta tribe multi-purpose building to discuss the impact illegal substances have on East Texas communities.

Melissa Russell, CCP Community Liaison said, “They’ve done presentations on what they’re seeing in their communities, so that way we focus on the local engagement of the community.”

Community officer of the Alabama Coushatta Tribal Police Department Chad Dodge said illegal substances don’t lie just within the city.

“If it’s other kinds of drugs like if we had a fentanyl issue, that is coming from somewhere else,” he said.

Dodge said fentanyl is placed into other drugs that people are using. Often times, it’s hidden in unique ways.

“It’s popular to be put into marijuana, it’s popular to be put in meth, and that’s what makes it extremely dangerous,” said Dodge.

Jacob Smith, Prevention Specialist for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council said one of the most concerning substances use in youth is vaping.

“Because it is a huge problem in every school we’ve been to thus far,” he said.

Smith said when he asks youth why they decide to use a substance, they tell him stress.

“Stress can mean a lot of things especially for a young person; that could be emotional stress, could be familial stress, right, they’re having problems at home or something along that,” said Smith.

Officials say the goal is to help with prevention in East Texas communities by bringing awareness to the issue.

“The community and the schools and the people who are involved in these kids’ lives are taking such an interest, trying to educate themselves and prepare themselves, so that they can be a positive influence and a positive voice,” said Smith.