A Deadly Substance, Part IV: What Lubbock Is Doing to Protect Kids from "Cheez" Heroin - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/19/07

A Deadly Substance, Part IV: What Lubbock Is Doing to Protect Kids from "Cheez" Heroin

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NewsChannel 11 traveled to Dallas last month because we wanted to go to the core of the "cheez" heroin problem. We showed you that more than a dozen kids have died from trying this deadly drug just one time.   Dallas police arrested hundreds of kids carrying the drug to school.  So, should we be worried in Lubbock?

Sixteen-year-old "Titus" is a teen who attends school in the Lubbock area.  "I play basketball and football and track," he told us.  "Do you like all that stuff?" NewsChannel 11 asked him.  "Yeah, it keeps me active," he said. 

"Titus" is not his real name.  He did not want us to use his name for fear he might get in trouble.  He knows a lot about "cheez" heroin and knows of school kids who have experimented with it.  "They say it's not here, but I'm pretty sure it's here. I've heard of people trying it already," said "Titus."

Sixteen-year-old "Paul" has heard the same thing.  "Has anyone asked you to try it before?," NewsChannel 11 asked him.  "There's a couple of people that I didn't know that asked me if I wanted to try it, if I wanted to buy it. They said a hit is around two to three dollars," said "Paul."

Both teenagers said they have never tried and will never try "cheez" heroin.  They are fully aware this drug can kill you the first time you use it. That's the message Lubbock law enforcement is trying to send to our children and parents.

"Do we have black tar heroin in Lubbock, Texas?" NewsChannel 11 asked.  "Yes, ma'am," said Captain Joseph Longway.   "So all we need is the Tylenol PM and we have "cheez" heroin?" we asked.  "Yes ma'am," he replied. 

Captain Longway is with the narcotics unit for the Department of Public Safety. So far, he's gone to one high school to talk to kids about "cheez" heroin.   "I asked who's heard of it. Two kids raised their hands. They knew how much it cost. I asked them how they knew that, and he said because he had family in Dallas," Longway said.

The moment Lubbock officials found out about "cheez" heroin last spring, the Lubbock Independent School District said they acted fast.  Sara Wilson with Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities sent the alerts to every LISD campus, letting every teacher, school nurse, principal and counselor know "cheez" heroin is out there.

"We immediately included it in a power point presentation for our community and for our parents," Wilson said.

Wilson says she has had four presentations this year and plans on doing more inside the schools and going to churches.  Lubbock school police are doing their part too.  Drug dogs are trained to sniff out heroin and Lubbock school police say the dogs are going into the schools every day.

The Lubbock medical community is now fully aware of "cheez" heroin as well.  Dr. Linda Brice is the Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing at the Texas Tech Health Science Center. Since our investigation, she now talks about "cheez" heroin during health fairs that are held at several school campuses all over the Lubbock area.  Her focus is to teach parents on ways to talk to their kids about drugs. 

"This is information that needs to get out. This is a new addictive drug that is for kids, and if we don't enlighten parents and teach them how to talk to kids about it, we're going to be the next city kids die in.  We don't want that," Dr. Brice said.

Last week we told you Dallas ISD has a program where parents can sign their children up for random drug testing at school. No Lubbock school has a program like this in place, so it's up to the parents to test their children.  

Here are Dr. Brice's pointers on how to talk to your kids about drugs:

"You can't just start talking about drugs.  You need to converse every day about everything.  'How was your day at school?  What is going on?  How are your friends?'  Then you work into it.  You ask them, you know while you're sitting them down, when you're seeing information about certain drugs on TV, you ask them, 'Have you heard of this before?  Do you know about this?  Have you seen this?  Are any of your friends using this?  Are you using it?'  Know the symptoms as well."

get more>> Web Enhanced
NewsChannel 11 Investigates Cheez Heroin: School List
A list of elementary and middle schools in Lubbock.
get more>> Web Enhanced
NewsChannel 11 Investigates Cheez Heroin: School Contacts
A list of contacts numbers for area schools.
get more>> Web Enhanced
NewsChannel 11 Investigates Cheez Heroin: Drug Tests
A list of locations you can obtain a drug test in the Lubbock area.
get more>> Web Enhanced
NewsChannel 11 Investigates Cheez Heroin: Lubbock Area Agencies
A list of agencies in the Lubbock area that offer assistance.
get more>> Web Enhanced
NewsChannel 11 Investigates Cheez Heroin: Amarillo Area Treatment Facilities
A list of treatment facilities in the Amarillo area.

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