May 8, 2014

Experts talk teen substance abuse at Plattsburgh High School

PLATTSBURGH — With children in middle and high school, Kathie Cameron-Murray is concerned about the amount of illegal drugs teens are exposed to.

“It’s overwhelming as a parent,” she told the Press-Republican while attending a recent forum at Plattsburgh High School.

The informational event, “Keeping Them Safe: Drugs, Bullies & Social Media,” was open to parents, community members, teens and pre-teens.

It was sponsored by the Plattsburgh Campus & Community Partnership, the Drug Free Communities Support Program, Behavioral Health Services North, the Plattsburgh City School District, Plattsburgh City Police Department and State Police.


Plattsburgh, in a rural area, may seem an unlikely place to find the latest-emerging illicit substances, State Police Investigator Robert Marciniak told forum attendees. 

But the area’s close proximity to the Canadian border and location along Interstate 87, he noted, make it a prime layover spot for traffickers.

“We have all the hotels from here to Champlain; we have all the restaurants ... so people coming across the border that are trafficking or selling are going to stop in Plattsburgh for the night or get some food,” Marciniak said.


One of the latest drug trends is Molly, a form of Ecstasy that often contains powdered fillers, such as detergent, according to Bonnie Black, director of employee assistance services at Behavioral Health Services North.

The substance has resulted in a spike in emergency-room visits by patients younger than 21, she said, and such cases can be difficult to treat because the contents of Molly are often unknown.

Still, City Police Officer Carman Rotella said at the event, Molly is in Plattsburgh.

“We have brought people to the hospital,” he said. “We had one young lady who tried Molly and was in ICU with brain damage.”


According to 2012 data, Black noted, other substances that 12th-graders reported using recreationally within the previous year included marijuana, synthetic marijuana, Adderall, Vicodin, cough syrup, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, sedatives and inhalants. 

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