The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control is launching a series of training sessions to teach law enforcement, health care workers and others how to deal with children impacted by the drug trade.
The sessions are a part of a statewide effort to raise awareness about children who live in households where drugs are present.
Director Darrell Weaver said the sessions will bring together representatives from law enforcement agencies, health care and mental health workers and child advocacy groups.
Law enforcement agencies tend to overlook such children, Weaver said. When police make a drug raid, he said, it's easy for officers to focus more attention on the drugs and cash in the home than on the children who live there, he said.
“We just want to bring law enforcement up to speed,” he said.
The training comes at a time of increased attention to drug-endangered children. Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed a bill laying the groundwork for the creation of a state chapter of the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. House Bill 2251 takes effect in November.
The agency, in conjunction with the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, is scheduled to host training sessions on July 23 in McAlester and Aug. 20 in Tulsa. Weaver said the agency plans to hold more sessions in other areas.