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Detective warns parents of drug use signs

Posted: May 16, 2016 10:44 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2016 10:44 p.m.
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Detective Bill Velek of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station warned parents Monday night about how far teenagers are going to conceal drug use.

Speaking at a drug awareness event at Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School, Velek showed images of digital scales that look like iPads and working highlighters which also function as pipes. He said teenagers are also using soda cans and apples as marijuana pipes.

He recently caught kids smoking out of an apple while sitting in a department store parking lot.

“They think we’re stupid and don’t know what they’re doing,” Velek said.

Recently, gummy bears infused with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, were found on a school campus in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Velek said juvenile drug arrests have been down in the past couple of years, but he said investigators do not know why. Drug use could be decreasing due to efforts to raise awareness, or kids could be getting better at avoiding detection, he said.

Velek said drug use increases during summer, but arrests decrease because students are out of school and oftentimes left alone at home. He encouraged parents to take an active role in preventing drug use.

“We have to parent our own kids. If we don’t care, no one else will,” he said.
The narcotics investigator encouraged parents to tell their children that they are subject to searches at anytime. He said he will pull off the side of the road while driving and search his children at random.

He also discussed warning signs, including balls of tin foil in the bedroom or cotton swabs with some of the cotton missing. He said it’s important for parents to look their children in the eye each day to notice any changes.

Katie Soto, a criminal justice teacher at the charter school, organized the event.

“There’s been a lot of drug overdoses in the Santa Clarita Valley,” she said. “It’s definitely an issue on our campuses too.”

Rob Soto, a pharmacist at CVS in Saugus, spoke to the children while Velek addressed the adults. Rob Soto spoke about the dangers of prescription drug use. He said many children do not understand prescription pills can be deadly.

“There’s a huge lack of understanding of this as an issue,” he said. “They have this idea that because a doctor prescribed it and a pharmacist fills it, it must be safe.”
Soto said he has presented at four schools and hopes to talk to students at other schools in the near future.

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