About 30 Kingwood-area residents may have learned more about narcotics in one hour than they likely had learned over their entire lives when they attended the Feb. 20 Kingwood Positive Interaction Program (PIP) meeting. Officer D.P. Von Quintus of the Kingwood Division of the Houston Police Department (HPD) introduced two narcotics division officers who provided a riveting presentation about most of the drugs that are abused throughout Houston and its surrounding areas. The idea was to become familiar with the various drugs and the names they go by on the streets of Houston, including Kingwood.
Because of the undercover nature of their jobs, they are referred to in this article as Officer J. and Officer M. Officer J. has more than 30 years of experience in the HPD, with much of it served in the Narcotics Division. Officer M. has more than 15 years of experience, most of it as a narcotics undercover officer on the streets of Houston.
Officer J. opened the presentation: “I’m Officer J. and I am with the Houston Police Department. Basically what we are going to talk about is the different types of drugs, stimulants, street drugs, prescription drugs and anything we can help you with.”
He explained that he was the “resource expert” and Officer M. was the “field expert” and would walk the group through the presentation of slides and descriptions.
“Officer M. has one of the toughest jobs in the police department. He is an undercover officer. He goes in, sometimes meeting with crooks and others he does not know. Officer M. goes into these meetings in any variety of places at all times of night and day, often alone. His backup help is usually out of sight and often blocks away,” said Officer J.
“Does anyone know the difference between opiates and opioids?” asked Officer J.
A resident said, “I think one includes heroin and the other includes oral medications like Norco and Oxycontin and Oxycodone.”
“Yes, that’s a pretty good answer. The opiates are the drugs that have organic origin. It comes from a plant that grows in the ground, the poppy plant itself. The opioids are the synthetic forms of the drug that were produced in some lab to mimic the effects of the drug itself, but unfortunately also mimic the addiction-forming side effects of the drugs,” said Officer J.
With that definition in mind, Officer M. launched into his slide show of various types of opiates and opioids that included both pictures of the drugs and the words and names used to describe them on the street. He began with prescription drugs.
“Most people don’t think prescription drugs used under a prescription are illegal drugs. Let me tell you … that is one of the biggest issues we have in our city; the abuse of legitimate prescription pills used in an illicit manner,” said Officer M.
Officer M. explained the top three or four drugs sold on the street: hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller used legitimately to minimize pain but is also sold on the street under street names like Norcos, Beans, Watsons and “853s.” He explained that these pills sell for $8-10 per pill. The other top painkillers abused in this way are Oxycontin, with street names of “Oxys” and “Roxys,” and alprazolam, with street names of Xanas, Bars, Handle Bars and Footballs, often used in conjunction with marijuana.
Following the discussion about prescription drugs, Officer M. went through a long list of common street drugs that included: promethazine with and without codeine, Fentanyl, powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, various types of crack pipes, and pictures of crack addicts. He explained methamphetamine both in solid and liquid forms and meth pipes, and showed devastating pictures of meth addicts and how they changed in physical appearance in just two years. In addition, Officer M. described the various types of heroin, ranging from black tar to its various powder forms. Also included in the presentation were PCPs, MDMA drugs, Ecstasy Pills, Molly Pills, marijuana in both hydroponic and naturally grown forms, and THC oils that contain the THC drug in a more concentrated form than marijuana and without the odor. He also explained synthetic cannabinoids and finally bath salts, which are synthetic derivatives of a central nervous system stimulant.
Following the presentation, both officers emphasized the need for the public to report observed instances of suspected abuse to HPD. Those leads are the key to making progress in keeping these drugs as tightly controlled as possible.
The Kingwood PIP meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Kingwood Church of Christ, 2901 Woodland Hills Dr. It is open to the public and all are welcome.

Bruce Olson
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.