Flower Mound Creates Tip Line to Tell Police About Everyone You're Pretty Sure Does Drugs

Categories: Crime, Drugs

cheese_heroin.jpg
On May 17, 2011, 17 people, most of them very young, were indicted for drug crimes in and around Flower Mound, a sleepy, prosperous suburban town about 20 miles north of Dallas. Most of the defendants were accused of conspiring to traffic heroin, specifically cheese, that mixture of cold medicine and black-tar that North Texas just can't seem to shake.

At the time, we profiled one family affected by Flower Mound's heroin problem, the O'Keefes, whose 18-year-old son Brett died of an overdose in 2010. After Brett's death, his mom Kathy started a group called Winning the Fight, (WTF for short, one of Brett's favorite sayings), designed to help parents and kids talk a little more openly about drugs.

The Flower Mound police, though, seemed pretty certain that the arrests of these 17 kids had gone a long way towards solving the area's drug problem. "As far as the supply into Flower Mound, I think we greatly affected it," one officer, Captain Wess Griffin, told me. "We definitely stunted it here."

Two years on, that doesn't seem to be true, for cheese or any other drug. So the Flower Mound police have a new plan: an anonymous hotline where people can call in tips about anyone, especially a teen, they think might be a drug user.

See also:
- Why Does Dallas Keep Forgetting About its Cheese-Heroin Problem?
- In Suburban Dallas, Loosening "Cheese" Heroin's Deadly Grip

The Dallas Morning News lays it out today: the initiative is called I.N. (Identify and Notify) the Know. Step 1: Call the tip line on any teenager you think might be using drugs. Step 2: "Officers will notify family members and provide them with information about resources and support."

Kathy O'Keefe is interviewed in the piece, seeming to suggest that a program like I.N. could help save lives. "If I know the kids down the street are doing drugs, it's up to me to tell my neighbors," she says. "If we can get together as a community, we can make a huge difference." In a news release on the program, Flower Mound PD said that "all tips and information regarding teen narcotic use will remain confidential and no criminal charges will be filed, once information is provided."

Captain Griffin, the same officer I spoke to in 2011, was also interviewed by the DMN, and is now saying that the arrests served as a "wake-up call" to the community on the prevalence of harder drugs like heroin. And while the need for a new approach is obvious, and the tip line is no doubt born out of the best of intentions, it still seems like a curious approach.

It's not clear, first of all, why this program has to be routed through the police department. Even with the promise that no criminal charges will be filed, it seems unlikely that most teens are going to be willing to call the cops to inform them that their friends are using drugs. For starters, they might still be a bit spooked by the 2011 arrests and indictments. Although many of the kids ended up getting probation and court-ordered rehab, the man identified by the feds as the ringleader, Joseph Hoffman, 21, received 71 months in prison. He's doing his time in Beaumont, with a scheduled release date of October 2015.

It's also not that clear, at least to the public, what support services the youth of Flower Mound can expect to receive. The press release from Flower Mound PD says only that the cops will provide "the necessary resources and support to help that young person get back on the path to success." Is that rehab? A stern talking-to? Methadone?

Also, as long as we're creating an anti-drug program for youth, it seems like it wouldn't be that hard to create one that speaks directly to them. This program is designed for people to, essentially, snitch on their friends and neighbors, albeit in a no doubt loving and well-intentioned way. But what about kids who have started to suspect they might have a problem with drugs? Can they call the hotline on themselves? Is there maybe a better way to let them know that help is available?

This whole hotline idea also seems like a great way to call the cops on someone you don't like, netting them a visit from the fuzz to talk about their drug problem, whether they've got one or not. That may or may not work as a drug-use prevention tactic, but it sure seems like a fast track to making someone's life very uncomfortable. Flower Mound seems to finally be comfortable admitting they've got a drug problem, but real solutions still seem to be a long way off.


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63 comments
ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Step 1, admit you have a problem.  Good job Flower Mound.

Step 2, implement a plan to fix problem...this one failed miserably, but at least you tried.  

Flower Mound has had drug problems since I was in High School at Lewisville.  No one cared though, mostly bc the rich kids over there sold to the kids at Lewisville.  Anyone remember the crazy drugged out kid with a gun holding the librarian hostage.  Or the massive drug bust at Marcus that made national news.  

Threeboys
Threeboys

How dare Flower Mound claim to have a serious cheese problem.  I live within shouting distance of what were declared 3 of the top 10 schools in the DISD with cheese problems.

My neighborhood knows cheese problems, and you Mr. Flower Mound, are no cheese problem.

And when cheese was top of the food chain a couple of years ago in those schools, they dealt with them like any good opiate problem. 

Overdoses.

Kelly Tyler
Kelly Tyler

FM Police did a thorough drug presentation at the Flower Mound HS parent's open house event. Learned about drugs I'd never even heard of and things to watch out for. Drugs are in and around every school and probably easier to obtain for students than they would be for many adults. A tip line could always be abused but it can also save some lives. The hearsay phrase in my kid's school, which is known to have just about every type of drug being distributed, is "Lewisville makes it, Flower Mound buys it." Apparently, it's been a real problem for many years. Flower Mound, like many cities, has a teen court option for some first time misdemeanor offenses which gives them a chance to keep it off their permanent record and clean up their act, all requiring parent involvement.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

WTF indeed. This is the perfect vehicle to prank people. Idiots.Seriously, can't wait to hear of a cop or teacher's being turned in for a flask in the desk at worrk. That would be the BIG payday for me.

Andre Ayala
Andre Ayala

Police state at work and nobody complains, the ramifications of allowing this are huge in the long run. This is exactly what the Cuban government does to identify dissidents and what the Chinese government did (and probably still does) to identify enemies of the communist state. Neighbors spying on neighbors...

Mary Poole
Mary Poole

Our son od'd a year ago, for some it will be too late. @Jon Jackson I would take the stitches if I thought it would keep one more person from dying on drugs

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

Well, Ms. Merlan, you've raised some interesting points, namely what services teens can expect if they legitimately have a drug problem and the potential misuse of the system. Did you happen to place a phone call to the Flower Mound PIO to get us some answers, or are we simply working from a press release and a DMN article?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Why don't they ever ask, and answer, why? Why are these kids doing heroin in the first place?

Ratting out your friends ain't gonna fix anything.


Andrew Roe
Andrew Roe

They need to get better drug education programs in the schools so people can actually educate themselves about what they are putting into their bodies! Not this " drugs are bad dont do em" bullshit. That doesnt stop any kid who is looking for a cheap, strong high. The schools and government need to get over the fact that its going to happen either way and work on better prevention/safety methods not punishment/snitching methods. Show the kids gruesome pictures of what happens to a meth addicts teeth and body, show them the terrible psychological effects of certain hard drugs, explain to them- yes the high probably does feel amazing but is it really worth it? When it comes down to it people are going to make their own decisions regardless of the law or whether there are people willing to rat them out to the police. This puts the police department at greater risk for violence, the kids a greater risk ( especially if the friends or person who was ratted on somehow finds out or suspects the person who made the call), and the parents of these kids at greater risk for violence too. You want more violent gangs running drugs? The violence will only go up from here with these kind of methods because only the violent and the ruthless gangs can survive in a system like this. Eliminate the fed's faulty drug system and you eliminate the violent gang's main way of making money. I see this doing way more harm than good.

Daniel D. McGuire
Daniel D. McGuire

fucking a. he was 18. she'd be less to blame if he was older but damn. homie was doing heroin in high school and she couldn't tell

Angel Parkey
Angel Parkey

Yea, cause no one's ever had an asshole neighbor pull shit on them!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

*ring* . . . *ring*. . . 

Operator:. . .Hello, Flower Mound Drug Tip Hotline . . .


Caller: . . . ummm . . . yeah . . . Teenagers in Flower Mound may be doing drugs. LOTS of teenagers . . .


Operator: Thank you.


*click*

Daniel
Daniel

You naysayers are clueless, aren't you? They have a system like this in North Korea -- and they have one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world.  If we don't do something -- anything -- about teen drug use, we will turn into the kind of society nobody would want to live in.  

Go, Flower Mound police! All of the haters on this thread are just ham-fisted and clearly way out of their depth.  

Christopher Allen Fettig
Christopher Allen Fettig

Im sure the program will work out great for the kids who DO NOT have the suspected drugs on them when the cops show up. The rest will be arrested for possession most likely. Criminal records for everyone, hooray! Great way to keep your neighbor's kid from ever getting employment at a decent job.

Despina Karintis
Despina Karintis

uh, mccarthyism anyone??? jeez. do we not learn from the past or what?

Warren Dane
Warren Dane

Route that phone line directly to my cell please!

Thomas Herrera Jr.
Thomas Herrera Jr.

next they'll have a tip line for all the whores in flower mound cheating on their husbands!!

kevinhill0463
kevinhill0463

this whole thing seems like a really bad idea, not to mention a waste of time

Mike Stewart
Mike Stewart

Maybe that lady should have been involved in her own kid's life and she shouldn't be in this situation.

Tad Bryant
Tad Bryant

"After Brett's death, his mom Kathy started a group called Winning the Fight, (WTF for short, one of Brett's favorite sayings)" My guess is he was not talking about Winning the Fight.

Amanda Theriot
Amanda Theriot

Yeah make more criminals out of someone utilizing a natural plant that grows out of the ground. :/

Juan Barrera
Juan Barrera

Sounds like bullies just found another way to screw with someones life....

Alejandro Monjaras
Alejandro Monjaras

they're not snitches or tattletells we prefer to call them whistle blowers :-)

Maryann Izzarelli
Maryann Izzarelli

I see a lot of pissed off exes having a great time with this.

Ryan Millard
Ryan Millard

Whats the difference? Flower Mound cops will pull you over just for looking at them anyway. Fuck flower mound.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

@ScottsMerkin I was thinking the same exact thing. I wonder if the genius at the Flower Mound police department was at Lewisville High back 30 years ago, when the principal decided to deal with the alleged serious drug problem by offering cash to people who'd rat out alleged drug dealers on campus. Naturally, it didn't catch anybody, and the program became a national laughingstock, but it got plenty of television interviews for the principal, as well as the attention his parents obviously didn't give to him as a kid. (I find it hysterical that the Lewisville ISD actually named a high school for ol' Killough: that's like naming a psychiatric hospital for Charles Manson or a technology school for Jerry Junkins.)

Anyway, I suspect this program will work about as well as any other drug eradication program in Flower Mound and the surrounding area. It'll have some initial success until it catches some rich kid with insane helicopter parents, and their constant threats to get their pet Senator involved will stop it right there. After that, it'll be a drug eradication program in name only: "Thank you for calling the Flower Mound Police. Yes, we know about the biggest cokehead in the area, but if we bust him, Marcus won't make the football playoffs this year. Yes, the coaches threatened to blow up our houses if we bring him in: it's like you were right there. Can't you give us the name of some poor black or brown kid that we can bust so we can pretend to do our jobs?"

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@Daniel re #1, that explains a LOT.

re#2, it gives me a headache anyway.

Daniel
Daniel

@TheCredibleHulk @Daniel 

Don't mix LSD with mescaline. It complicates the geometry of reality at a very deep level.

Also avoid the temptation to smoke resin. It can contain fungi that produce an unpleasant delirium. 

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