Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center staff learn current issues in street narcotics

by Sara Miller, Intern at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Laura Nydam (R)  Laura Nydam, L.I.S.W., C.A.D.C., M.S.W., a therapist at the Center, teaches as class for therapists to better understand the impact of addiction, "Understanding Substance Abuse 101." Also pictured here, Andrea Severson, a graduate student conducing her practicum at the Center.

Laura Nydam (R) Laura Nydam, L.I.S.W., C.A.D.C., M.S.W., a therapist at the Center, teaches as class for therapists to better understand the impact of addiction, “Understanding Substance Abuse 101.” Also pictured here, Andrea Severson, a graduate student conducing her practicum at the Center.

Brady Carney, Senior Police Officer at the Des Moines Police Department came to the Center on Friday, January 15, 2016, as a guest presenter for the “Understanding Substance Abuse Class 101.” The class is part of the curriculum for the Center’s graduate student training program, and is also offered as a professional development for clinicians in the community. Laura Nydam (photo right), L.I.S.W., C.A.D.C., M.S.W., a therapist at the Center, teaches the class and arranged for Officer Carney’s visit.

Officer Carney is an investigator with the Vice Narcotics Unit and he came to give a presentation to educate the staff about current issues in his field. He discussed stimulant drugs, depressant drugs, and how the use of various substances can affect the behavior of the user. Officer Carney educated the staff about signs that indicate potential drug use and which drugs are more common than others. He also spoke briefly about the human trafficking going on in the United States and how young girls find themselves far from home in Des Moines.

Officer Carney brought with him examples of items used to conceal illicit substances. Such containers could look like a can of Arizona tea but contain a secret compartment inside. Officer Carney also brought packaging from substances that used to be sold illegally in gas stations in order to show the ways these drugs were marketed. Along with these other items he also brought some of the substances themselves so the staff could learn exactly what the drugs look like. 

This information is important for staff to know. Being able to recognize when a client has erratic behavior consistent with drug abuse could be the catalyst to helping that client change their lifestyle. Knowing how certain substances can affect a person physically and emotionally may help staff to recognize a potentially dangerous situation before it occurs. Also, being able to recognize the terminology and paraphernalia associated with drug use can help staff realize that there is a potential problem. ~

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