DARE graduation prompts talks about opioid use in Pullman

Thirty-one heroin cases were investigated in 2018, 1,006 grams of opioids seized by Pullman Police



Specially selected fifth grade students from the DARE program give presentations during the graduation on Jan. 15 at Pullman High School.

BENJAMIN WHITE, Evergreen reporter

Around 190 fifth graders graduated from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program Jan. 15 at Pullman High School.

During a Pullman City Council meeting on Dec. 10, Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the number of heroin cases investigated and the amount of opioid grams seized by the police has steadily risen since 2012.

Thirty-one heroin cases were investigated in 2018 and 1,006 grams of opioids were seized, Jenkins said. Seven cases were investigated in 2012 and 16 grams of opioids were seized, he said.

Jenkins said according to statistics taken from college campuses across the nation, 49 percent of heroin addictions begin in high school while 10 percent of addictions begin in middle school.

“The middle school number surprised me,” Brandon Chapman, Pullman city council member, said. “I think that’s kind of sad.”

The opioid crisis is a national issue, Chapman said. It is often left out of local discourse, but there likely are local solutions, he said.

Scott Patrick, Pullman police officer and DARE instructor, said the program’s curriculum is about teaching life skills and making sure students have the tools they need in order to handle turbulent situations.

“We give them a decision making model so that they can learn how to make safe and healthy responsible decisions,” Patrick said.

Chapman said the original message of DARE was “Say no to drugs.” The program has since changed so it takes a more holistic approach.

He said Patrick leads workshops and allows DARE program participants to see drugs.
“[The students are] like ‘Holy cow,’” Chapman said.

Chapman said the DARE program is funded with $146,357 from the city. The money is used to pay Patrick and any resources he needs for the program.

“They get to have a little bit of a tactile experience,” he said. “He makes it real for them.”