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Drug abuse summit meeting, Virtual Schools, Severe Weather warning system

Signs of a growing drug abuse problem in Alabama are prompting a summit meeting tomorrow in Montgomery. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the concern is over heroin and a synthetic form of marijuana called spice.

Alabama hospitals reported a rash of drug cases involving the marijuana substitute known as spice starting in mid-March.

Four hundred people sought medical treatment over a one month period. One hundred of those patients were hospitalized and two of them died. That prompted the upcoming meeting at the U.S. attorney’s office in Montgomery.

Attorney General Luther Strange will attend along with the state secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier, and members of the FBI and DEA. They’ll all discuss their concerns over spice abuse as well as heroin and prescription drugs.

One hundred and twenty three heroin deaths in Jefferson County last alone amounted to a one hundred and forty percent compared to 2013.

The Montgomery County Board of Education will vote on whether or not to approve a new virtual school program.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the program would allow 20 students to do classwork from computers and only require them to be in a physical classroom for tests.

Rising 10th and 11th grade students would be eligible for the program, which includes online English, history, math and science classes. A representative says the school district would have to buy laptops for the students, which would cost around $25,000.

If passed, the program will move forward in the fall of 2015.

Alabamians are remembering the April 27th 2011 tornadoes that rampaged across the state. Now the National Weather Service in Alabama is using a new severe weather warning system.

Stephen Latimer is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Huntsville. He says this new system provides more details about the storms…

“If a tornado is moving close to a radar site we can actually see tornado debris aloft due to our dual polarization radars we have now. We’re actually incorporating some of the more information as to the basis for those warnings and the expected impacts.”

Latimer says the new system has been tested since 2012 in the Midwest. It was just expanded to the Southeast earlier this month. The national weather service still recommends people take cover during severe weather warnings--even with the new warning system.

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