Synthetic drugs become a problem on Middle Peninsula

by Kim Robins - Posted on Dec 26, 2012 - 01:22 PM

Synthetic drugs have become a problem on the Middle Peninsula in recent years and professionals who deal with substance abusers and addicts have sought to learn more about them and their effects. Charles F. Gressard, a professor in the counseling education department at the College of William and Mary, recently addressed the topic for a group of professionals in Mathews.

Gressard’s audience included representatives from the local offices of community services, social services, probation and parole, public schools and the commonwealth’s attorney. Some were counselors who deal directly with substance abusers and addicts, while others were those who deal with their impact on society.

Mathews Social Services brought Gressard to the county through a training grant provided by the Owens Foundation in support of the county’s multidisciplinary team. The team, consisting of representatives from numerous state and local agencies, convenes to facilitate services for victims of child abuse and to assist the commonwealth’s prosecution in child abuse cases, according to Mathews Social Services Director Jo Ann Wilson-Harfst.

In introducing Gressard, Wilson-Harfst said her office had seen a synthetic drug influence over the last several months, and its impact on social services customers. Particularly, she has noted its impact on parents and their ability to take care of their children.

Gressard said the circle of abuse with new synthetic drugs is the same as with more traditionally known drugs. People use them for the high, euphoria or desensitized feeling they produce. When they stop using, they feel the opposite effect, or what Gressard called the rebound effect, and then use the drug again to counter that effect.