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Narconon Suncoast Joins Drug Free America Foundation’s Tampa Drug Summit

Tampa Drug Summit 2016

Tampa, FL. –  This week, more than 250 representatives from drug education, drug rehabilitation, law enforcement, and family services gathered at the Fourth Annual Tampa Drug Summit. The agenda was filled with experts from all segments of the drug awareness field who updated attendees on the latest trends in drug abuse and new information on how communities can fight back. The summit, held at T’Pepin’s Hospitality Centre, focused on successful collaborative efforts and strategies that could be applied in any area to help create safe and sober neighborhoods.

In the spotlight at this event was the potential impact on Florida communities if medical marijuana is legalized later this year. Narconon Suncoast’s Community Services Director, Yvonne Rodgers remarked, “The negative public impact data coming from states where legalization has occurred needs to be confronted. We have to raise public awareness on the increases in high school marijuana use numbers, increased crime and accidents caused by drivers who were impaired by marijuana use. States like Florida still have a chance to ensure the future safety of their children and communities.”

Summit attendees learned how the reputed benefits of this industry are not being achieved in real life. Examples of skewed statistics used by pro-legalization lobbyists and advocates were presented. For instance, in Colorado, there are claims that fewer high school students are using marijuana since the drug was legalized. These figures do not take into account the steep increases in expulsions and drop-out rates since availability to the drug increased. With the heaviest drug users being left out of the statistic, pro-marijuana advocates can show that the remaining students have lower overall drug use.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Larry Morrell, who visited the largest legal pot growing facility in Washington State, provided graphic descriptions of what a large scale marijuana production really costs a community.  His detailed account revealed:

  • Employees were habitually using the drug they were growing and hard to motivate
  • Even with the best regulatory systems in place, there is plenty of room for theft and loss
  • Black market pot supply has increased, not decreased
  • Vehicular fatalities are increasing
  • Gang and cartel activity has not decreased as promised before legalization.

Inspiring the summit attendees was Shirley Morgan, a resident community activist from Oregon who helped get rid of a meth lab in her neighborhood, created community coalitions in her state and activated citizens to get drug dealers and growers out of their communities. Her systematic and persistent approach encouraged all to increase their community activities and collaboration with others. The message was clear: One person can make a difference and by working with friends, can promote real change and a saner, healthier future for all.

Narconon Suncoast promotes drug-free and healthy communities. It is a long-term residential treatment center located on seven-and-a-half tropical acres in Clearwater, Florida. The newly opened state-of-the-art facility is fully licensed as a residential treatment center by the Florida Department of Children and Families and accepts those who are ready to leave their lives of addiction in favor of new drug-free lives. If you know someone who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, or for admissions information, call (877) 841-5509.  All calls are confidential.

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