Rio Grande City School District Hosts Prescription Drug Symposium

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RIO GRANDE CITY – Most school districts around the Rio Grande Valley have one week dedicated to drug prevention, usually during Red Ribbon week. But at the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District, they’ve decided to make it a year-round effort.

The school district hosted numerous meetings, including bringing in ideas from the students themselves.

“The goal in this event is to promote awareness and to bring education to our parents, students and staff and members of the community,” RGCCISD substance abuse counselor Karina K. Garcia said.

They hosted their first prescription drug symposium.

“In the past few years, we have had more cases where persons are caught or arrested with prescription drugs,” Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar said.

“Prescription drugs kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined. Ninety percent of addictions start as a teenager,” Alex Sarabia, a professor at South Texas College, said.

“Parents should look for changes in behavior, something that is out of the norm,” Garcia said.

They mentioned some people find some unique places to hide their drugs.

“It could be highlighters. It could be fake lipstick containers. It could be water bottle, soda cans. And us as parents, as teachers, sometimes we are not aware this could actually be a compartment where they’re storing these substances,” Garcia said.

“Chapstick, we use it every day. Kids walk around with it. This is made to be a compartment also. The bottom is taken off,” Rio Grande City Police Department Sgt. Bermea said.

The district has come up with what they call “Super Youths” and “Super Kids.”

“The Super Youths are students from Rio High School and Grulla High School. They’re grades 9th and 12th, and they advocate living a lifestyle free of drugs,” Garcia said.

“We like to create change in the community towards being drug free. Being a role model to others,” Grulla High School student Mauricia Bazan said.

“Yes, I strongly encourage them to not do anything they’ll regret later on,” Rio High School student Karrel Miana said.

“And that we save this information that we have so we can have a teaching moment when we return back to our school year,” RGCCISD Superintendent Alfredo Garcia said.

Prescription drugs can start simple enough, they said, but the dangers are very real.

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