DRUG enforcement cops have visited a school near Uttoxeter to educate youngsters about the dangers of illicit substances.
Officers working on Staffordshire Police’s Operation Nemesis were joined by PCSOs and partner agencies to deliver a presentation at Ryecroft Middle School, in Rocester.
Operation Nemesis has seen scores of the county’s drug dealers targeted and brought to justice.
But the campaign’s other arm sees police try to reduce drug use, help addicts get themselves clean and educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse.
Sgt Bob Champeau, East Staffordshire neighbourhood officer, told the Advertiser Ryecroft’s pupils were ‘receptive’ to the presentation.
He said: “The pupils at Ryecroft showed great interest in the presentation and had plenty of questions about what was being discussed.
“We had a host of expert partner agencies there who could help answer those questions and provide invaluable information to the youngsters.
“I’m really grateful to the staff at Ryecroft for letting us come into the school to deliver this important message.
“I think it was a real eye-opener for much of the audience as we had people there who’ve experienced addiction and lived through it.
“Our drug education programme has come a long way and it’s no longer just a policeman telling kids ‘don’t do drugs’ and showing a load of shocking pictures.
“We now focus much more on really educating the children on the harm many different drugs can cause.”
Ryecroft assistant head teacher and English teacher Sandy Pierzchalla said the talk would hold her pupils in good stead as they approach high school age.
She said: “The officers told our pupils what had happened in Operation Nemesis and went through a range of drugs and the negative effects they can have on people - including cigarettes and alcohol.
“This is a small, rural school and our pupils haven’t had any experience of being offered drugs, but, as they get older, that may inevitably happen.
“And there is often peer pressure on young people to get involved with illegal substances.
“So the fact they now know specifically how drugs can harm them means I’m confident they’ll be able to say no.
“I’d definitely advise other schools and organisations to use this extremely valuable resource as it’s certainly been a massive eye-opener.”
Any schools or community groups wanting a talk from those involved with Operation Nemesis are asked to call 101 and ask for their local neighbourhood policing officer.
An Operation Nemesis spokesman said: “If you have any information about criminal activity in your area linked to drug dealing or drug use, please help us do something about it by ringing us on 101 and asking to speak to an officer from your local area.”
More information is online at staffordshire.police.uk/info_advice/op_campaigns/op_nemesis.