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Drug & Gang Awareness
Illegal Drug TrendMarijuana
An estimated 20.4 million people in the United States used some kind of illicit drug in the past 30 days, according to the latest government statistics. About 8.3 percent of all persons age 12 and over are involved in use of illegal drugs or the non-medical use of prescription drugs.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a yearly interview of 67,500 persons sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, provides the most accurate estimates of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in the general U.S. population.

According to the 2006 NSDUH findings, illicit drug use rates have remained stable since 2002 and the use of some drugs has declined, but the survey has shown an alarming increase in the abuse of prescription-type psycho-therapeutic drugs.

The Drugs of Choice

According to the NSDUH survey, these are the most commonly abused drugs:
  • Marijuana, by 14.8 million people, or 6 percent.
  • Cocaine, 2.4 million users.
  • Hallucinogens, including Ecstasy, 1 million users.
  • Methamphetamine, about 731,000 users.
  • Prescription drugs, 7 million non-medical users.

As shown, marijuana is still, far and away, the most commonly abused drug in the United States. A recent disturbing trend is the marked increase in the abuse of prescription drugs. This is essentially defined as use by anyone who does not currently have a valid doctors prescription for that medication. Children raid parent's medicine cabinets to obtain them and will frequently share them with their friends, either for free or for money.

Indicators of Possible Drug Use
If your child is using alcohol and drugs, it's a good bet he or she is doing everything possible to keep that activity hidden. The last thing they want is for parents to give them a hassle about their newly-found "entertainment." Continued alcohol and drug use will affect your child's behavior, attitudes and even choice of friends. Here are some signs to look for, if you think that your child may be using:

Mood Swings
Most teenagers go through normal mood swings. But look for extreme changes; One minute happy and giddy followed by withdrawal, depression, or fits of anger or rage.

New Friends
If your child is using, chances are he or she will begin hanging out with others who have similar interests. Has your child suddenly turned away from their old friends? Are they hanging out with an older (driving age) group or with those that you suspect are using drugs?

Bad Performance in School
Has your child's attitude toward school suddenly changed? Have their grades gone from pretty good to very bad? Have they been skipping classes or school altogether?

Physical Health
Have you noticed a change in appetite or does your child suddenly have digestive problems?

While any or all of these signs may indicate other emotional or medical problems, they should also be considered strong indicators of substance abuse.

Resources for Help
All of these people and agencies can provide you with information and advice on what to do next.
  • You or your child's doctor
  • The school counselor
  • Member of the clergy
  • Local youth service bureau
  • Drug treatment or counseling agency

Additional Resources

For information about a drug abuse presentation, or to obtain more information locally, contact the Community Services Division of the Little Elm Police Department via email or at (972) 377-1885.

Report Drug Abuse Locally

  • Remain anonymous call the Drug Tip Hotline - (214) 975-0466
  • Report in-progress crime or drug activity call - 9-1-1
  • Speak with a detective call - (214) 975-0462

Fortunately for Little Elm, gangs are not a huge problem. Like any community, there is a small gang presence and the possibility is always there for gangs to form and grow. In an effort to remain proactive on this issue, the Little Elm Police Department has established a Gang Detail to investigate any and all individuals or groups engaging in criminal activity. The purpose of this specialized investigative unit is to reduce violent crimes committed by criminal street gangs, reduce the number of repeat juvenile offenders, identify at-risk youth, and provide intervention programs to prevent the increase of gang membership.

The Little Elm Police Department’s Gang Detail is composed of the following members:
  • Gang Detail Supervisor, Detective Oscar Hinojosa
  • Crime Prevention Sergeant Steve Garst
  • Patrol Sergeant Jerry Walker
  • Patrol Sergeant Jimmy Lewis
  • Patrol Corporal Jay Compton

The cooperative effort between the unit’s multidimensional duties has been effective in clearing criminal offenses and in quelling disturbances at the schools.

The members of the Gang Detail are on call and respond to the scene no matter what hour of the day or night that crime occurs. Members initiate their investigation and continue to follow-up until all leads are exhausted, or until the crime is solved and the gang members identified and arrested.

Have you ever heard the expression money creates more money. The same concept applies to graffiti. It is very important that gang graffiti be removed or painted over as soon as possible to avoid retaliatory graffiti that can lead to violence. It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove the graffiti.

Graffiti comes in many styles and colors and is used by gangs for a variety of reasons. The most common use is to claim their territory. A rival gang claiming the same area may spray over the original work, and replace it with their own. This is a sign of disrespect to the other gang and frequently may lead to violence among the gang members. This is one of the primary reasons for the need to immediately remove graffiti when it appears.

Graffiti to a gang member is as unique as your individual signature. In much the same way all of us practiced writing our own names when we were younger, gang members practice writing their gang name and the letter style over and over until they get it like they want it. For this reason, it is important that law enforcement be called immediately to document the writing before it is removed. Doodlings on school work, desks, and assorted other locations provide great exemplars to use to identify graffiti when it begins to appear on walls and signs around the community.

Resources for Gang Information