The names seem familiar enough – Old Navy, Urban Outfitters and American Eagle – but Boise Police Officer Jermaine Galloway encourages parents to get familiar with where their kids shop and to know exactly what is for sale.
Apparel lines sporting designer labels like SRH and DGK are sold through traditional clothing outlets, but also are marketed through social networks and websites that celebrate a culture of drug use more than fashion sense.
Galloway told ITD employees about a recent talk with a teenager wearing an SRH-branded hat. He said that when asked about the logo on his hat, the young man replied that it stood for “Supporting Radical Habits.”
“I thought it stood for ‘Stoners Reeking Havoc,’ Galloway said. “You could see the blood rush from the young man’s face.” He went on to explain that DGK stands for “Dirty Ghetto Kid(s).”
Although clothing and accessories typically are legal to sell or purchase, marketing efforts for some items, particularly by way of social media, seem to encourage the use or abuse of alcohol and drugs, Galloway said as part of his education program for ITD employees sponsored by Headquarters’ Safety Committee.
From the kaleidoscopic colors of energy drinks containing jolts of caffeine and numbing amounts of alcohol to a simple black T-shirt displaying a clock face with hands pointed to 4:20, marketers are finding ways to sell items in convenience stores, shopping malls and online that once were found mostly in liquor stores and “Head Shops.”
“Skate shops are the new Head Shops. It’s not marijuana or pot, but 420.” Galloway said. “Understand the logos and know what they mean.”
Galloway encouraged parents to look closely at items like skateboard art, clothing logos, hats, belts, sandals and rings. Some contain a secret.
“Four-twenty headwear is basically a ‘stash’ compartment,” he said.
Look closer and you may find high-heel shoes, belts, wallets and rings that also are bottle openers, and sandals that contain hidden compartments or beverage flasks.
Even Journeys Kidz has sold “Batman” belts with built in bottle openers.
Artwork that incorporates red eyes, “hatchet” man or a seedling sprout can be found on websites targeting younger consumers and celebrating extreme culture. Those sites in turn link to music downloads featuring drug-inspired songs by Kottonmouth Kings, Insane Clown Posse, Pennywise and Sublime.
Spice, John 3:16, K2 and Black Mamba are examples of herb derivatives legal in most states that are marketed as marijuana-like intoxicants for prices ranging up to $40 per gram.
“The problem is, no one knows exactly what’s in these compounds or their long-term effects,” Galloway said.
He encourages broad parental and community involvement when it comes to young people, alcohol and drugs.
“You can’t stop what you don’t know,” he reminded the group.
Galloway has been an Idaho law enforcement officer since 1997.
He provides training nationwide to police officers, prevention personnel, educators and community coalition members on youth alcohol and drug trends, youth concealment methods, drug and alcohol clothing, party patrols, compliance checks, party drugs, fake ID, alcohol and energy drinks, alcohol laws and other community-based alcohol initiatives.