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Lunch and Learn

By Staff | Dec 5, 2017

The public is invited to a program on the newest drug trends observed by law enforcement.

Hosted by the Cape Coral Police Department and Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida, Lunch and Learn: Emerging Trends in Drugs of Abuse will take place on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Cape Coral Police Department’s Training Room, at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.

The event is free and open to the public; registration will begin at 10:30 a.m.

“We like to provide our professionals and our families and citizens with updated information on emerging trends in the county,” Deborah Comella, executive director of the coalition, said. “And we like to have them free of charge so there’s no barriers.”

Sgt. Allan Kolak, a CCPD detective and drug recognition expert, will be the presenter.

“Generally, he talks about substances that are being abused. He talks about where kids are getting them from and a little bit about the situations where they’re being abused,” she said. “He’s going to talk about what they’re seeing in the community.”

As of Tuesday, approximately 60 people had registered in advance.

“We always have been 75 and 100,” Comella said of previous Lunch and Learn events.

Two years ago, the CCPD and partnered together to host the same event. At the time, the emerging trends in drug abuse involved prescription pills and opiates, MDMA or ecstasy, and marijuana.

According to Kolak, the trends have shifted since 2015.

“Back then, we had a lot of pills as far as the opiates,” he said, pointing out that Florida has since implemented a database to monitor prescription drugs and created stricter regulations for doctors and pharmacies. “Now, we’re seeing a curve toward heroin and fentanyl. That’s one of the major ones.”

Law enforcement is also observing abuse of designer drugs, like Molly – but not Flakka.

“Cannabis use or marijuana, and Xanax or Valium,” Kolak said citing other trends.

As part of the presentation, he will cover the seven different drug categories.

“We’re going to go over each,” he said.

Kolak will also discuss the signs and symptoms of abuse, including behavior and physical changes.

“Little indicators for someone to look for,” he said.

Some of the popular drug paraphernalia being used will also be shown.

According to Kolak, the event aims to prevent possible injuries or deaths with education.

“A lot of these substances can easily cause death,” he said.

Comella echoed that.

“It’s important to all of us as citizens and parents and teachers to be involved in prevention because we never know where we’re going to affect one’s life,” she said. “The more opportunities we have to get educated, the more opportunities we have to advocate for prevention.”

Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch.

A provider reception will be held from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

“That’s an opportunity for our providers to come in and talk about their services, representatives from treatment providers,” Comella said. “It’s just sort of an add-on that we like to do.”

For more information on the event, contact info@drugfreeswfl.org.