National Drug Expert Speaks To Harrison County Students - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/07/04

National Drug Expert Speaks To Harrison County Students

When it comes to drug abuse, Trinka Porrata tells it like it is.

"Anyone who tells you that you can't die from Ecstasy is an idiot and a liar. Maybe you'll experiment and be o.k. and grow out of it and go on with your life. But somebody here will end up in jail or prison. Somebody here may end up drinking and driving or doing drugs and driving and kill yourself or somebody else," Porrata told the Long Beach students.

The former Los Angeles Police officer spent 25-years on the force specializing in sexual assaults, child abuse and narcotics. Porrata travels the country focusing on drugs many people may not have heard of, like Ketamine, used as a cat tranquilizer. She also shares her expertise about RAVE parties, and the latest club drugs.

Porrata held up a pacifier and said, "The people that are on Ecstasy, it makes them grind their teeth. It makes their jaws lock. Anything they can suck on helps reduce that. It's a drug paraphernalia. Real cool, right".

Porrata shared heart-wrenching stories about how drugs destroy lives and showed pictures that drive home the message. She pointed to a photo and said "Here's what your eyes look like on Ecstasy. See how big the pupils are? That's not normal".

It was a lesson Ninth Grader Montee Gaddy will never forget.

"I learned that it's really bad for you. Just a small thing, like a tiny pill, can do a lot of damage to you."

Fellow student Michael Savarese agrees.

"I think it was good that she came here and told us. That way, we'd be aware of it. I think she's putting out a good message. She's not trying to scare us."

Porrata hopes by spending one-hour with the students, she can convince even one child to steer clear of drugs.

"There are kids who are going to do drugs no matter what we say, but I want to get to that kid that's going to be talked into it, pressured into it, or accidentally does it. That's the kid I want to reach. I can't save them all, but anyone that I can reach, it's worth it."

Between Wednesday and Friday, Porrata will be speaking to nine schools in Harrison County. She will hold separate seminars for teachers, counselors and a community forum. The Harrison County Sheriff's Department, and the Long Beach Substance Abuse Task Force sponsored the program.

Porrata has testified before Congressional committees about drugs. She is also part of Project GHB, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing information about the drug GHB.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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