Hidden In Plain Sight A Huge Success!

I was so pleased to see so many parents and other citizens come out on Tuesday evening to the Perley School for the presentation of Hidden In Plain Sight that was sponsored by the Georgetown Cares Coalition Committee. Over 100  people came through the exhibit of a teenagers bedroom and had the chance to learn about items and methods that might be hiding in a teenager’s bedroom anywhere from gummie bears that could be soaked in vodka, a winter hat that could be a place to hide a joint, inhalants that can be made from common household items , various vapes that look like pens and computer flash drives and the various “hides” containers that might not otherwise cause a parent to be suspicious. One of our School Resource Officers Henry Olshefsky conducted five tours of the bedroom throughout the evening and he was nothing short of a rock star. Henry was able to provide background and stories to illustrate what and how teenagers are using innocuous ways to conceal their use of drugs and alcohol that they might learn from a variety of sources, not the least of which is the Internet where information is readily available. Among the scariest stories were of “heroin parties” where young people take heroin and one member of the group is designated to administer Narcan to revive them or parties where students consume “fruit salad” which is a mix of all of the pills young people find in medicine cabinets or get from dealers to get high. While I could see that many parents were surprised, I think more were a little scared and worried that their children may be exposed to or know that these things could happen and they might not even know about it.

Our goal in bringing this program to Georgetown was not to imply that our children are doing these things or to scare parents. Rather it was to pass along important information to inform parents as to what some young people are being exposed to and what they might look for if they notice changes in their teen’s behavior and wonder what the cause might be. This is not a negative indictment of our young people in Georgetown because we know that more students do not use or abuse drugs and they are making healthy choices. However, information is power and hopefully this program provided additional tools and strategies for the parents that attended.

The guided tours were a big part of the evening but we are also grateful to the people who also manned tables that were loaded with important information. The Georgetown Police Department was a huge partner  for us in this event. Along with Henry, Officer Peter Neu led discussions with parents on what different types of drugs looked like, different ways drugs are consumed, various vape options and other samples of drug paraphernalia that are commonly used. In addition, a representative from the District Attorney’s Office came to discuss the important topic of internet safety and Tina Los from the Asset Builder’s Network (and a great partner for us) provided information about how adults can talk to our children about these issues and how we can build assets in our children that will build their skills and confidence to make healthy choices.

We are also grateful to members of the Georgetown Cares Coalition Committee who worked so hard to plan this session and who were there to volunteer their time. Thanks to Chair Pam Lundquist, Selectman Doug Dawes and Beth Blazonis . I also want to mention the help of  GMHS senior Mike Lundquist and his friend Rachel who acted as greeters and helped make copies of handouts.

This was a true team effort and in this day of busy lives, my heart was full tonight when I saw so many people come to learn more about this important topic. Our young people are truly blessed to be raised in a community that cares so much about keeping them safe.