GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Aiming to address what they called an "uptick in illicit activity" among teens in town, Glen Rock borough and school officials turned to parents and guardians for help.
A community message was sent by borough police, Mayor Bruce Packer and other school and borough officials Monday evening that spells out the situation.
"School officials may only respond to illicit activity occurring outside of the school when that activity negatively impacts the smooth operations of the school and/or disrupts the learning environment for students," police said in the message.
"Parents and guardians have no such limits on their authority," they said.
So authorities urged parents and guardians to talk with their youngsters about several topics.
Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal has made battling the opioid epidemic -- particulary heroin -- a foundation of his administration. He has launched several programs and asked local police departments for their help.
"Parents and students alike should be aware that heroin abuse has become common place throughout our region in epidemic proportions. It is a national epidemic," borough police told parents and guardians in Monday's message.
"Glen Rock is not immune to this problem; addiction knows no limits," they wrote. "It is as much of a problem here as anywhere else."
Even LSD, "widely associated with the counterculture of the 1960s, has also made a recent resurgence," police said.
Convictions for possessing any illegal drugs other than marijuana carry serious consequences -- including a criminal record that stays with anyone 18 or older, police warned. There are also fines and court costs, they said.
"The penalties apply regardless of whether your child is found in a vehicle, the woods, a house, or a park," police wrote. "In addition, such offenses can result in the suspension of a driver’s license for up to two years."
Marijuana possession is a disorderly persons offense, which also carries penalties and a criminal record for those 18 or older.
Police warned adults that teens will use battery-powered e-cigarettes to smoke pot. "Tobacco oil can be replaced with cannabis oils in e-cigarettes and smoked without fear of detection, they wrote. "This has occurred in our schools and may very well have occurred in your home."
One other thing: "If a police officer stops a motor vehicle where narcotics are found, the officer may lawfully place all the occupants of the vehicle under arrest for possession of a controlled dangerous substance," police warned.
"The narcotics would be placed into evidence and the vehicle could be impounded," they wrote. "All the occupants would be transported to the police station and issued a complaint summons (if age 18 or older) or a juvenile delinquency complaint (minor under 18).
For prevention and treatment of substance abuse visit: www.bergenhealth.org .
"The drinking age in the United States is 21. No ‘if’s – No ‘and’s – No ‘but’s," police wrote. "Possession and consumption of alcohol by underage persons is against the law."
A person under 18 who violates this law will be charged as a juvenile delinquent. A person 18 to 20 will be charged as an adult with a disorderly persons offense. The fine for an adult is not less than $500. If it happens in a motor vehicle, a 6-month driver’s license suspension will also be imposed.
Police advised parents and guardians to "set clear ground rules and consequences" for their kids.
"....and yes, where possible, the Glen Rock Police Department will aggressively pursue charges against individuals who make alcohol available to underage persons," they added.
"As a parent the law permits you to serve alcohol only to your child on your own property," police wrote. "If any other minor is being served, you can be arrested."
Charges could include child endangerment -- which carries prison terms of up to 10 years and fines up to $150,000 for those convicted.
"In addition, you can then be sued in civil court for substantial monetary damages by the parents of the minors to whom you or your child provided alcohol. This can occur whether or not you are supervising the party being held on your property.
"Many unsupervised or poorly supervised parties have resulted in alcohol and substance abuse, extensive property damage, theft and sexual assaults," the message says.
"If you decide to go away and leave your teen home alone, you are responsible for their actions and the actions of those who show up at your home, even if uninvited," it says. "We strongly suggest that an adult family member, friend or neighbor agree to keep track of what your teen is doing in your absence. The school and police cannot do it for you.
"If the point comes that the police become involved it is already too late," police added. "If you learn that your teen is at a potentially unsupervised house party, GO TO THE HOUSE AND GET THEM! You do not need a warrant."
Sending naked or semi-naked pictures, as well as real or simulated sexual acts, via text or email is addressed in the message, as well.
"These actions have legal and psychosocial implications that can follow them through the rest of their lives," police wrote. "If you have not checked the content of your teen’s smartphone, social media or other electronic devices recently, now is the time."