No community is immune from drug problems and drug awareness was the main issue during the “Taking Control” seminar at the Portales High School Auditorium on Thursday.
“I’m very disappointed that we didn’t have more people than the ones that attended,” Roosevelt County Sheriff Tom Gossett said. “I am proud of the law enforcement agencies in this community. This is the closest knit group that I have been involved with in this county. We share information together and we are working on a common goal (to stop drug abuse).”
There were more than 20 law enforcement officers and less than 15 people in attendance who did not have a part in conducting the “Taking Control” presentation. Of the less than 15 people only three were between the ages of 7 and 18.
“I don’t see many of our youth and that’s unfortunate,” Mayor Orlando Ortega said. “We don’t have any of the young people here. I’m proud of the law enforcement and Portales public schools representation. We all need to work together to share the knowledge and rid the community of drug abuse.”
Portales police and public school officials talked about the drug abuse and that it exists in the community. Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry conducted the seminar and introduced speakers such as Ortega, Doug Stone of the Roosevelt County Crimestoppers, Gossett and Preston Wilkerson of the Roosevelt County Task Force.
Wilkerson educated the crowd with a powerpoint presentation on the history of drugs. He touched on a variety of subjects such as black-tar heroin, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine (meth) use. He noted that 65 percent of the cocaine production comes from Colombia.
There have been a number of meth lab busts in Roosevelt County, police said.
Wilkerson discussed the troubles of kicking the meth habit. He said that only 4 to 6 percent of the meth users are able to quit and stay off the drug.