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Salt River Police and SRPMIC Tribal Housing Host Drug Awareness Presentation

Empty nitrous oxide containers.

The dangers of nitrous oxide inhalants are real, and the Salt River Police Department and Community Tribal Housing Department are working to educate people in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The Community is not exempt from nitrous oxide inhalant abuse, known by the street names “whippets” or “whip-its,” said SRPD Sgt. Jeremiah Rangel in his recent drug awareness presentation on April 24 at the police and fire department substation at the corner of Indian School Road and Center Street. Det. Edward Alameda assisted Rangel in the roughly 90-minute presentation. About 20 people attended.

This cheap, recreational high is illegal in the Community, and inhaling the gas directly could potentially result in long-term negative health effects and even death. Empty canisters can be found discarded on the sides of the roads at most Community intersections.

Although nitrous oxide was a main topic of discussion, methamphetamine, marijuana, synthetic drugs and opiate usage in the Community were also discussed at length. Prescription-drug abuse was also highlighted.

In 2016, the SRPD investigated seven deaths in which the preliminary cause of death was believed to be related to drug overdose, Rangel said.

SRPD Sgt. Jeremiah Rangel leads a discussion.
The SRPD is working with the Department of Health and Human Services in the Community on methods and resources to provide more public awareness. All officers received at least eight hours of crisis intervention training, and the department has several officers who have received specialized training as Crisis Intervention Team members.

Help Fight Drug Abuse
SRPD Narcotics Information and
Hotline: (480) 607-1939
To submit an anonymous online tip or to learn how to submit a tip through text message or smartphone app, visit
www.srpmic-nsn.gov/government/srpd.