Friday, July 11, 2008

School Safety Prosecutor Veronica De Alba Cracks Down on Inhalant Abuse at East Los Angeles High School

In September of 2007, Deputy City Attorney Veronica De Alba was appointed as the School Safety Prosecutor (SSP) for East Los Angeles’ Roosevelt High School.

Her mission is to prevent crime at, and in the area around, Roosevelt High School through the aggressive prosecution of crimes occurring on and around the campus, as well as developing programs to keep kids safe, out of trouble, and on a path to success.

A few months ago, local parents told Veronica that the parks near Roosevelt were full of air freshener cans and other inhalant products.

Both the LAPD and school police have also confirmed that Roosevelt students and students at other local high schools and middle schools have been found in possession of inhalants while on the school’s campus.

Inhalant use refers to the intentional breathing of gas or vapors in an effort to reach a “high.” Products commonly abused in this fashion include spray paint, air freshener, glue, shoe polish, gasoline or lighter fluid, nitrous oxide, and typewriter correction fluid.

Recognizing that there is a serious problem here, Veronica set about working with the local parents, students, and retailers to develop an Inhalants Prevention Seminar.

As part of this effort, she’s meeting with the students to discuss the health risk of, and laws relating to the possession of, inhalants for the purpose of becoming intoxicated or under the influence.

She’s also working with local retailers to educate them regarding rules and regulations against wrongfully selling to minors products containing certain toxic ingredients.

Retailers in the area who continue to sell dangerous products to minors could face criminal prosecution, including fines and jail time. Interestingly, California is one of the few states that has laws that may be applied to the improper use of certain products that contain toxic ingredients for the purpose of inhaling.

For more information on how you can help to prevent inhalant abuse among our kids, please visit the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition’s (NIPC). The NIPC is the leading national organization dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse through inhalants.