Educating Youth on Marijuana & Other Drugs - Chittenango 7th Grade Health

Trooper Bender and K9 Mandin

Trooper Mark Bender dedicated his time on December 17th to Chittenango Middle School 7th grade Health students as a part of the Life Skills program, provided by BRiDGES. Prevention Education Specialist, Jennifer Cottet, educated the students through Trooper Bender and K9 Mandin. Mandin has been in service almost 7 years and specializes in narcotics and cadavers. Trooper Bender explained to the students that all of the trainings for Mandin are play-based, where he is taught to play tug of war with whatever his handler tells him. Mandin has been a part of countless police missions including drug seizures, searching for missing persons/fugitives, building searches, cadaver searches, and rappelling from a helicopter as a part of the NYSP SWAT.

Trooper Bender

Trooper Mark Bender presented to the students about drugs with a focus on narcotics and marijuana. He explained that he has been called all over the state and occasionally out of state, as needs arise, to complete search missions of all kinds. When Mandin comes across a drug in a search, he scratches and paws at the particular spot to inform Tpr. Bender there is something worth searching for. Trooper Bender is fully equipped with Narcan in the case Mandin is exposed to something that may harm him.

Marijuana Impairment

Trooper Bender informed students that marijuana has changed significantly due to the increase in science and technology. He explained that the THC content and potency have sky rocketed and new products have been introduced (ex: edibles). He explained he has seen numerous misuses, overdoses, and accidents due to marijuana impairment. People are unable to react as quickly to deer, red lights, pedestrians, etc.

Marijuana & Addiction

Trooper Bender brought special attention to the myth that marijuana is safe. He educated the students that although there are riskier drugs that many people are getting addicted to it. He explained the cycle of addiction as a result of tolerance and dependence on the drug. He discussed how this has led to overdoses because people became hooked and are constantly chasing their next high.

Marijuana & Criminal Records

Trooper Bender told the students stories about the impact he has seen throughout his profession with marijuana use and criminality. He explained, through professional stories, how addiction causes people to do things they never would including stealing from the people you love most. Therefore, addiction has caused a lot of crime throughout his experience. He encouraged the students to think about the things they love most and the goals they have to keep them on the right track as they get older.

Mandin Due to Retire as Ada Enters the Field

Trooper Bender explained he is currently training his new K9, Ada. She is currently 9 months old and will be in service when Mandin retires to home security.

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