Heroin makes appearance at Vernon schools

The RCMP have seen increased use of heroin among students ages 15 to 17 at Vernon schools.

A nasty drug is making the rounds at Vernon schools.

The RCMP have seen increased use of heroin among students ages 15 to 17.

“Officers have noticed a trend across B.C.,” said Supt. Reg Burgess, with the local detachment.

“It’s not as concerning as when crystal meth first hit, but it’s been noticed.”

Burgess said his officers are trying to determine the source of the heroin and why there has been an increase in the substance.

Intervention efforts have also been initiated by the Vernon School District, Child and Youth Integrated Services and the Interior Health Authority.

The goal is to to help those heroin users who have been identified and are open to help.

Besides heroin, the RCMP’s school liaison officer has also been speaking to students about the risks involved with ecstacy.

Juliette Cunningham, a Vernon city councillor, would like to see the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program return to schools full-time.

“Raising drug awareness at an early age is very effective,” she said, adding that the provincial government must focus on preventing substance abuse.

DARE is only available locally when police officers are willing to volunteer their time.

“It was eliminated (full-time) because of the human resources it takes to provide the program,” said Burgess, adding officers are focused on other policing duties.