YUHSD, District One personnel come together for drug info training
Personnel from Yuma Union High School District, Yuma Elementary School District One, Yuma Police Department, and San Luis Police Department came together on Jan. 22-23, 2018 for a drug information training at Woodard Junior High School.
Longtime Tucson Police Officer Bill Honomichl, who has been with TPD for 18 years and is an expert in drug training and DUI investigation, conducted the two-day seminar, better known as Drug Information Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP).
“It’s drug education for education professionals,” Honomichl said. “We are trying to bridge the gap from saying, ‘Sally or Johnny showed up at school and I think they’re high’ to ‘We spent about an hour or so with Sally or Johnny and we believe them to be ingesting or using one of these seven drug categories based on my training and experience.’”
The aforementioned training and experience includes learning various physical assessments from estimating pupil size to the basic walk-and-turn test; becoming educated on the drug category symptomology matrix, which includes the seven drug categories and their indicators; and policies and procedures for notifying parents.
The first day of the session consisted of bookwork and question and answer sessions, while several hours of day two was spent using the practical application of the physical tests and concluded with a written exam for all attendees.
Honomichl said it was one of his largest classes, and it included school nurses, School Resource Officers, principals, teachers, and other campus leaders from across Yuma County.
“All of us coming together shows our commitment to student safety, student wellness, and our commitment to doing things systematically to ensure that every student is learning at a high level and having a great experience at school,” San Luis High School Principal Tamara Ray said.
For Honomichl, it is about getting everyone on the same page, working in cooperation.
“It’s knowing, let’s say, as nurse that I attended this class and I saw my assistant principal in this class,” Honomichl said. “That means that not only do I believe in this and they believe in it, too. So, to have bits and pieces of an entire school here, really shows that they want this information and this training, they want to be effective in using it and they want to have a safer environment for the kids they are working with.”
According to DECP.com, Arizona is one of three states, along with Kansas and New York, to each independently develop training to address the issue of combating drugs in the educational environment. In cooperation with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the strengths from the three programs combined to form DITEP. This training provides school administrators and nurses with a systematic approach to recognizing and evaluating individuals in the academic environment who are abusing and impaired by drugs, both legal and illegal, in order to provide early recognition and intervention.
The methods employed in the training are based on medical and scientific facts. The information is supported by research conducted in both laboratory and field studies.
Officer Bill Honomichl presenting at the DITEP seminar.
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