Alabama Guard active in fight against drugs
The Alabama National Guard is fighting the war on drugs -- in the air and in the classroom.
While the Guard's counter-drug program helps law enforcement agencies locate and destroy drugs, the Guard also is going into schools to help reduce the demand for these drugs by educating young people about the dangers of using them.
First Lt. Michael Mitchell oversees the criminal analyst section. Criminal analysts are guardsmen who are put on active duty status and attached to local, state or federal law enforcement agencies.
They support the agency's counter-narcotic programs or offer technical support, at no cost to the agency.
"That frees up an agent who can be on the street conducting active operations," Mitchell said.
The Guard's counter-drug office also supplies support in the sky.
Capt. Patrick Ferguson leads the Security and Support section, which flies OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and the recently added UH-72 Lakota helicopters to help law enforcement agencies locate drugs and supports security missions for homeland defense.
And despite the "War on Students" according to the annual Pride Survey Alabama teens are doing more drugs than teens anywhere in the nation....even than in states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes and in states where the penalties are much less severe.
I had an excellent editorial published about that very subject in the Birmingham News on Sunday.
Aside from marijuana, what drug could the guard possibly be looking for from the air? Crack and meth do not grow on trees. So, their 'war on drugs' is really a war on people who smoke marijuana, the least harmful of all psychoactive substances legal or illicit.
There are better ways to educate kids about the dangers of drugs (of all kinds) than turning the military loose on them. I guess this really is a war.