The Monroe County Health Department, along with Sequoyah’s school resource officer, held a special program to inform people of the dangers of vaping and narcotic use last week.
The program started with SRO Nick Farrell speaking about the potential dangers of vaping.
Farrell spoke about how relatively new vaping is when compared to a product like cigarettes, which took several decades for people to learn of all the dangers that are accompanied with smoking.
Farrell then started to speak about terminology that parents and guardians may need to know, starting with the term Dab.
“It is THC. Dab is extracted from marijuana,” said Farrell. “The THC level in a joint is anywhere between 10% and 20%, give or take. One gram of dab oil is anywhere between 90% to 95% THC.”
Other terms he explained were Indica and Sativa, which are versions of marijuana that act as depressants and stimulants, respectfully.
Farrell spoke about how many of the problems with vaping are from people using the vapes to smoke dabs that they have acquired through different sources that are unregulated.
He showed a news segment that spoke about the different kinds of chemicals that get released from dabs when being used in a vape that compared the product to Cyanide.
“Our young people are sucking this into their lungs,” said Farrell. “Our young people don’t understand this, so what they are buying is actually fake dab or bad dab that literally contained embalming fluid and that is what they are heating up and sucking into their lungs.”
Farrell stated that the effects of the substance abuse is now showing itself to the public.
“Now we see our young people falling out because of this,” Farrell said. “Having health problems, being hospitalized ... this is what is going on in our schools.”
Farrell declared that law enforcement is doing its best to try to stay on top of the situation and will do what they can in an attempt to stop it from worsening.
“We are trying everything that we can,” said Farrell. “We, in conjunction with the health department, have launched an educational campaign to teach about how dangerous this is.”
The next speaker to take the stand was Jackie Harris with the department of health who spoke about the dangers and attractions of vaping.
“What most of the students tell me is that it is just water with flavoring in it,” said Harris. “Well it is not just water and one of the things that is in it is nicotine.”
She spoke about how nicotine could open the door to more harmful habits.
“Nicotine is a gateway drug,” said Harris. “When that gate is opened and the nicotine is in your body that opens them up for other things.”
Harris believes that one of the things that makes young people attracted to vaping is the amount of different flavors.
“There are over 7,000 flavors on the market,” said Harris. “What about that doesn’t sound attractive? They’d want to know if it tastes as good as it smells.”