NORTH GLENDALE — Top Glendale Police officials gathered Wednesday night to educate parents about the latest drug trends among teens — and dangers lurking in their medicine cabinets.
Dozens of concerned residents, school officials and community leaders gathered at the Police Department's north area town hall meeting at Verdugo Hills Hospital to get more details on the heroin and marijuana, the drugs most commonly used in La Crescenta, Montrose and Glendale.
Video clips were shown during the meeting of local residents who, under the influence of controlled substance, demonstrate to police how they used heroin to get high.
But while heroin and marijuana are the drugs of choice for the area, police said the greater threat is lurking inside many homes.
"The biggest problem in the United States today is not the drug dealer at school or on the streets, it is that medicine cabinet that you have in your home," Sgt. Tom Lorenz told residents.
Painkillers and other prescriptions pills are just as dangerous and highly addictive as illegal substances since they are all derived from the opium plant, he said.
Pills have become increasing popular among teens, and many are raiding the medicine cabinets of their friends and family for prescription drugs, Lorenz said.
Some teens get high off Robitussin, an over-the-counter medicine used to treat cough and cold symptoms, for a high Lorenz said was known as "Robo-tripping."
They also participate in "cabinet parties," which generally require them to raid their parents' medicine cabinets for prescription pills to share with friends at a house party, Lorenz said.
Teens generally start using drugs if their friends are also using, he said.
Police urged parents to educate themselves to better notice drug use and have an impact their children.
Officer Joe Allen, who works in North Glendale, said he arrested and seized heroin paraphernalia from his daughter's eighth-grade valentine.
"I really care about what actually happens here," said Allen, who also lives in North Glendale.
During his presentation, Allen played videos of several interviews that he conducted with local drug users and showed various devices that people use to smoke drugs.
"I want you to be able to recognize it when you see it," he told residents.
At the meeting, police officials handed out fliers with details on drugs and pictures of prescription pills.
Most addicts often start by smoking marijuana as teens and move to harder drugs like heroin, Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.
With an increasing number of teens using higher-potency marijuana, De Pompatold residents that the potential passage of Proposition 19 — which would legalize and tax marijuana sales — pot-usage among children could skyrocket.
"Legalizing it is going to make it infinitely easier for that kid to get it," he said.