After a new drug surfaced locally, police did their own research on it, and now they want to educate parents, too.
Police are planning a community forum to give parents tips on how to tell if their child is using a drug that local investigators had never heard of a month ago. The drug 25I-NBOMe, or N-Bomb, was found next to the body of Samuel Motsay, a Center Grove High School student, last month.
Police estimate a new drug is discovered every few months, so staying on top of each new trend is difficult. A drug may be packaged in a new way or have a few new ingredients, local police said.
Police have to know about how a drug is packaged in order to have a better chance of catching people selling it.
School administrators also need to know how a drug may be packaged, so they have a better chance of noticing it being passed from one student to another.
Doctors also need to know about the drug so when a patient comes in, they know how to treat the individual. Often, doctors don’t find out about a new drug until someone is having a medical emergency.
“It’s really difficult to keep up with all of these, and if someone is determined enough to get high, they are going to find something,” Johnson County Health Officer Dr. Craig Moorman said. “No matter how hard we try, there is always someone a step ahead developing new things.”
One of the newest drugs to become popular is N-Bomb, which is a hallucinogen and can be found in powder or liquid forms. The drug will be the focus of a community forum planned for this summer.
Parents can learn details of the drug so they can better tell if their child is using it.
They’ll learn how to identify blotter paper — similar to what was found near the body of Motsay — that can be used to take the N-Bomb drug. Sometimes the drug is kept in a straw, for which most parents wouldn’t know to look.
Dennis Wichern, an assistant special agent in charge at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Indianapolis office, often speaks to medical professionals about drugs. He will speak at the event to give details about the N-Bomb drug and other trends.
“We need to have it before another child dies,” Sheriff Doug Cox said.
Police, school administrators and doctors rely on each other to stay on top of any new trends with synthetic drugs.
For example, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office sent Cox an information sheet about N-Bomb, which was listed in toxicology reports of an 18-year-old man that died in that county.
The Hamilton County Health Department created the sheet with information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Tulane University and other police and health departments.
Cox emailed that information to other officers in Johnson County. Because a high school student in the county died after taking the substance, Cox thought the information needed to quickly be sent out to everyone.
Doctors also rely on presentations at conferences, newsletters, medical journals and other professional research to learn about new drugs, and more importantly, how to treat people overdosing. But too often, when a hospital finds out about a new drug, it’s because there is someone in the emergency room, Moorman said.
“You can’t be overconfident you know everything,” Moorman said. “Because just when you think you have it all figured out, stuff happens.”
Schools also learn about new drugs and pass that information along to their teachers, letting them know how kids may try to package drugs in items that seem simple, such as straws.
But when the school finds out about a new drug, officials are more cautious with what they tell students. They fear that telling students about a drug that a majority of them don’t know anything about would lead them to try it.
Franklin Community High School will tell students about the dangers of drugs during health class. The school also organizes a presentation about every two years to discuss dangers typically associated with students, such as texting while driving, drinking and using drugs, assistant principal Scott Martin said.
Administrators and teachers stress to students that they can always ask them questions about any substance or voice concerns about other students using drugs.
A handful of students will visit administrators with some sort of question or concern each month, Martin said.