JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – In an effort to reduce the prevalence of gangs and drugs in schools, Onslow County School counselors spent Thursday at a special workshop hosted by Jacksonville Police Department detectives.
Counselors said the biggest takeaway from the workshop was drugs and crime always goes hand in hand.
In Onslow County, heroin is the root of the problem.
Detectives explained to counselors the differences between different gangs, from colors, to signs, to acronyms and phrases.
“We see a lot of these things, but we’re not necessarily familiar with a lot of the new slang – a lot of the terminology and a lot of the trends going on with gangs and drug activity,” said Brittany Norman, a counselor with Onslow County Schools. “So it was an eye-opener.”
Detectives said drugs like heroin fuel crime, which in turn fuels gangs.
They said Jacksonville is predominantly Bloods country.
Onslow County Schools officials said they hope getting to potential gang members while they’re in school will help curtail the rise in activity.
“The goal today is to give counselors knowledge of the world around them, the community around them, so that they can meet kids’ needs,” said Micheal Elder, Onslow County Schools.
Part of meeting those needs is recognizing when students are in a moment of crisis.
Detectives showed counselors pictures of various drugs seized from many former students in the county.
Detectives said they are mostly concerned about the rise of prescription drug addiction because those serve as a gateway drug to heroin, a big problem in the county.
“To me, that really hits home because we’re Onslow County; we’re so small,” Norman said. “Oh my gosh, this is happening in our county with our kids. If not our kids, someone connected to them. It’s very important to us to know that information.”
School officials said they plan to have several more of these workshops throughout the year to help counselors better identify the risks.
Detectives said the prevalence of the military has a lot to do with the presence of gangs in Onslow County.
Since people arrive from all over the nation, some of them bring gang affiliations, according to detectives.