Written by Akaya McElveen
Willimantic, Conn. - The Community Life Improvement Project (CLIP), a collaborative between Eastern Connecticut State University and the Windham community to prevent student alcohol abuse, hosted a free training conducted by the Connecticut State Police and the Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse (NECASA) in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library on Dec. 5. The training focused on new trends in alcohol and drug use related to college students and youth, and was made possible by the CLIP grant. The training was led by Connecticut State Police Sergeant Christopher Bartolotta.
Departments and agencies represented at the training were: CCSU Police, Cheshire Police, Colchester Police, Coventry Police, Mansfield Resident Troopers, Dept. of Consumer Protection, ECSU Police, Fairfield Police, Greenwich Police, Groton Town Police, Manchester Police, Middletown Police, Milford Police, Mitchell College, Newtown Police, Plainfield Police, Putnam Police, Quinnipiac University, SCSU, State Environmental Conservation Police, University of Hartford, WCSU Police & Westport Police.
Coalition members of CLIP include Eastern faculty members, staff and students as well as local officers, liquor license holders and residents. Together, these members help curb underage and high-risk student drinking.
Highlighted in the training was the importance of preventing and identifying home labs for illicit drugs. Bartolotta introduced the law enforcement officers to home labs such as mushroom labs, LSD labs, urine labs and indoor marijuana grows. The training concentrated on ways to identify such labs. Bartolotta also examined the occurrence of cross contamination when handling certain illicit drugs.
The training also provided the law enforcement agencies in attendance an overview of The Drug Endangered Children Program, which is set to promoted throughout the country in August 2014. The mission of the program is to break the cycle of abuse and neglect by empowering practitioners who work to transform the lives of children and families living in drug environments. The program began through the efforts of two women. Sue Webber Brown, a District Attorney Investigator in California, recognized the connection between child abuse cases and illicit drugs. "Sometimes it takes a tragedy to see that something needs to be done," stated Bartolotta in referencing Kathey James, who was sentenced to life in prison after the drug lab in her mobile home caught fire and exploded, killing her three small children. The Drug and Endangered Child comprises of representatives from district attorney offices, children's services and law enforcement.