ST. MARY PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Synthetic drugs have invaded nearly every community according to the deputies who are in the fight every day. In St. Mary Parish, the Sheriff's Office is taking that fight to parents with the help of some local schools.
Parents at Patterson Junior High got a frightening lesson from the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office about the drugs their kids could face.
"I would have never dreamt that they used that kind of stuff," said Dianna Gamboa, parent.
Harmless looking packets with cartoon characters, cans and pipes found around the house, all are part of the deception of synthetic drugs.
"For the more we can tell parents and get the word out there, that's our duty," said Patterson Junior High Principal Suzanne Bergeron.
Parents from the Patterson area schools came to hear the truth about synthetic drugs from those fighting, get on the front lines since it came onto the scene in 2008 from the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office.
"We've seen use as young as nine and 10 years old, to in the 50s and 60s," said Capt. John Kahl with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office. "So it's a huge problem."
Deputies say even the name synthetic marijuana is a lie, since the ever-changing chemicals in the drug make it totally unpredictable.
"The other misconception is that it's safe, that it's a safe alternative," said Capt. Kahl. "Nothing could be further from the truth. It's highly addictive, it's highly dangerous."
They hope arming parents with knowledge will spread the fight against the drug.
"I think I'm going to have some powow sessions with my 15-year-old," said Gamboa.
Part of the presentation is helping parents see red flags, and empower them because a little awareness can go a long way.