It has been a long, hot summer, and I know that our department is looking forward to a respite from the humidity that has plagued us for the past few months. We were very busy with a number of special events this summer, including the 4th of July Celebration and Fireworks, Shoot for the Horizon and, of course, Covering the Bases. We were grateful that our community came together, once again, to help raise tens of thousands of dollars for Horizon Field and the Horizon League. That support helps to ensure that athletes with special needs are able to continue to benefit from the programs offered.
While our community outreach will not slow down this fall, at least the weather should be a little cooler! Last year, the Acworth Police Department had our first annual Cop-a-Treat event. Families from the entire community came out to trick-or-treat at the police department, and to view our awesome, family-friendly Halloween décor. We are so excited to announce that we will open our doors again this year. We can’t wait to see your children dressed in their spooky best! This is a great opportunity for kids to meet our officers and to trick-or-treat in a safe and secure environment. This year’s event will take place 3-5 p.m. October 31.
I feel blessed that we live in a community that has so much to celebrate, and while I enjoy sharing information about fun events, it is important to remember that we still have some issues to work on. Lately, we have seen an increase in the abuse of pharmaceutical opiates and heroin.
One of the gateways to this type of drug abuse occurs when teens take a parent’s or grandparent’s medication and share it with their friends. Sometimes, groups of teens will pour a number of different medications into a bowl and take multiple medications without even knowing what they are taking. This is incredibly dangerous. Interactions between different medications can be fatal or cause serious illness very quickly.
Please do not be afraid to speak to your children about the dangers of taking medication that is prescribed to someone else. Even if you do not suspect that your child would do something like that, they should be aware of the dangers that they possibly could be exposed to at parties with their friends. Children must know that they can talk to their parents about anything. If they do not hear it from their parents, you can be sure that they will hear it from their friends, and their friends might not share the message parents would want their children to hear.
Also, be sure to lock your medication away from places where children can find and access it. Sometimes, limiting access to medication is the easiest way to prevent abuse. Instead of leaving old medication in your home, drop it off at the Acworth Police Department for safe disposal, with no questions asked.
The most important thing that any of us can do to protect ourselves, our families, and our community, is to be aware of the dangers that are out there. Once we know the danger, we can take steps to protect ourselves. If you suspect that someone in your family is abusing prescription medication, or if someone is stealing yours, reporting it may save their life.
By Chief Wayne Dennard, Acworth chief of police since 2012 and a member of this community for more than 40 years.