The tragic loss of Carly Ferro, a Rutland teen who was struck and killed by a driver police say was high from huffing computer cleaner, is weighing heavily on the minds of the Rutland City Police Department six weeks after the crash.
"We realized at that point that there's a lot of people in this community, even in the police department, that didn't realize the issue with inhalants, bath salts, spice, these types of things," Rutland Police Sgt. Matt Prouty said.
Prompted by the tragedy, Prouty reached out to local access channel PEG TV in hopes of educating a broader audience on the devastating consequences that can stem from synthetic drug use.
"We're here. We're a resource. This is our community, too. Anything that we can do to help, we'll do," said Michael Valentine of PEG TV.
Prouty hopes broadcasting a panel discussion by drug abuse prevention and treatment experts could stop another tragedy or addiction before it starts.
"Maybe we can educate the public, answer some questions, get it out there, get people talking about it and maybe even save a life out of this," Prouty said.
Prouty says the drugs are growing in popularity, particularly with teens. He especially hopes parents will tune in when the program airs at least three times next week.
"These guys are the first line of defense," Prouty said. "If they can do an intervention at home, they won't have to come to the police station to pick up, or the ER or some other place where a tragedy happens if we can stop it early, deal with it early."
"This is important. It's important for the community. It's a problem, a real serious problem. And I think the police are handling it very well," Valentine said.
Rutland city police encourage parents of teens to tune in next week. They say to check your local listings. If you don't live in Rutland and you want to watch the program it will be online at PegTV.com.