Local law enforcement and court officials have been working to better understand the drugs that are available to children and teens today and how they’re gaining access to them. Recently, they decided it was about time to share their findings with parents and educators who may come in content with children and teens at risk for exposure to illicit substances.


“Anytime we can help make anyone aware of the possibility of drug use in a teen, or in teens in general, that’s the beginning of the battle,” Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said about Tuesday night’s Drug Abuse Awareness Seminar to be held at Sanford Elementary School.


Coordinated through the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office, this is the second of several seminars in a series across Grayson County.


“Van Alstyne provides a good venue for the southern part of Grayson County, so we are hoping to draw people from Gunter, Van Alstyne, Whitewright and Tom Bean on the 29th,” District Attorney Brett Smith said.


He added that the D.A.’s Office is becoming more proactive in protection of the people here. Attendees can expect to learn about alcohol, methamphetamine, heroine, marijuana, and prescription medications.


“We have done similar seminars on Sexual Predator Awareness in the past,” Smith said. “The Drug Abuse Awareness seminar was done in Sherman last week. We intend to repeat the seminar, following this one in Van Alstyne, in Denison and Whitesboro.”


And about the office becoming more proactive, Smith said much of the job as prosecutors is reactive.


“That is a crime occurs, the police investigate, then we proceed with criminal charges and ultimately disposition,” Smith said. “This way we join with our law enforcement partners to be out in the community hopefully educating and preventing crime. If we can save one family from having to deal with the demons of addiction, our time is well spent.”


Barnes said 80% or 90% of all the crimes his department deals with are caused by some sort of drug affiliation.


“Education is the key,” Barnes said. “If you, the parent or adult, is educated on the recognizable signs of what you are dealing with in a loved one, whether it’s a spouse, child or friend, you’ve begun the battle. Especially when it comes to our youth. They are so important. A lot of times what they see on film or TV or what their friends tell them about it not being dangerous—well, it is dangerous, sometimes even deadly. This information could maybe save a child’s life. If we can save one person’s life and his future, it’s all worth it.”


The seminar is free to all who are 18 years of age or older. Sanford Elementary School is located at 300 Williams Way in Van Alstyne. The seminar will be inside the school’s cafeteria and run from 6-7:30 p.m.