By Robert Kimmel
At six feet, nine inches tall, Jermaine Galloway stands out, but his height is not what has made him a nationally known, and respected figure; it’s his understanding of the prevailing drug culture and the means to curtail it.
Known as the “Tall Cop,” Galloway lectures across the country about the drug and alcohol addiction problems, particularly as they effect the young. He recently spoke at a series of sessions at the Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown to “…a group of very sharp professionals, who knew what was going on,” as he described them.
Galloway has served as an Idaho law enforcement officer for 20 years, and for the past 15 his focus has been on underage drinking and drug use. “You can’t stop what you don’t know” is his salient point. Galloway says, “You can’t just sit back and look at one item by itself.” He cites the need to deal with, “All of the things associated with today’s drug problems.” He noted, “drug marketing, the products that are available, recidivism, trends, each part of the drug culture. If you slice a pizza, and make each part of it a part of the drug culture, that is what I am talking about.”
In dealing with young people, Galloway emphasized that, “It takes an effort all the way through from the professionals to the parents, pretty much everybody working together. Whether it is the opioid epidemic, the use of marijuana, or underage drinking, you can’t just sit back and look at one aspect by itself. If you do that the other issues will arise.”
“Over prescribing opioids by some doctors has been a problem, but not in general now; most doctors are very responsible in what they do and how they do it. I would not say it is the major problem now,” Galloway added. “There are multiple reasons we are seeing these drug issues.”
Substance abuse among the young is being encouraged by “…the new products that are hitting the market, all the technology,” said Galloway, in referring not only to emerging drugs, but also to the paraphernalia that are used for storing, concealing, transporting and administering illicit substances. Logos, clothing and entertainment associated with the drug culture also play a part.
“Some parents are too lenient,” he explained. “You are expected to do that,” Galloway said, referring to what some parents might say to their children who start on drugs. For parents he said, “You have to draw the line. It is your job as a parent to tell them how wrong that is. Don’t be their best friend. They have best friends. Be their parents.” And he cautioned that, “…all users don’t start with hard drugs; they start with other substances and build up to that.”
Officer Galloway developed a website, “Tall Cop Says Stop,” which is “…dedicated to education and resources for the detection and prevention of substance abuse to help keep young people, families and communities safe.” He is credited with having trained and lectured to more than 105,000 people nationwide, and won national and international awards for his efforts.