Chillicothe Police School Resource Officer Eric Menconi says he has talked with law enforcement officers, school officials, and health professionals about everyday issues children face. About 70% of the conversations occurred because of incidents in which a student was found using alcohol, tobacco products, or other illicit drugs. He notes the most common problem is vaping.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020 reported one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students used e-cigarettes.
Menconi reports teen vaping in the community has also risen, and it is not restricted to a particular age or social group. He notes vaping products have been found among students as young as the fourth grade.
The officer visited local vendors and dispensaries to get more information about vaping and marijuana products available in the area. He identified what is trending, what is easy to conceal, and what the latest products are. The items were documented to assist with future identification and educational purposes.
Menconi says he learned that most businesses have protocols to combat minors from getting their products. He explains research shows many minors are getting the products from friends and/or family members who are old enough to purchase them legally.
Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs and other risky behaviors.
Anyone who has information about a person or business supplying vaping products or other illicit drugs to minors is asked to contact local law enforcement. A business suspected of supplying alcohol or tobacco products to minors can also be reported to the Missouri Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
Contact the Chillicothe Police Department with any questions or concerns at 660-646-2121 or email [email protected].