The Southern Illinois Substance Abuse Alliance, along with Memorial Hospital, Buena Vista National Bank, and Colvis Investment Services sponsoring, organized a "Hidden In Plain Sight" event at the Chester Grade School on Oct. 25.
Parents walked through a mock teenager's room to see if they could spot signs of possible drug use. Michelle Bertinetti, outreach coordinator with the Gateway Foundation, then educated those in attendance on the paraphernalia present in the room that they may have overlooked. Her presentation was very informative and educated parents so they can recognize the signs of drug use.
"It was fantastic and very informative!" said Jennifer Cartwright, a parent from Chester who attended the event. "I had no clue about the hidden containers to look for or [household items] involved in drug use. "
By educating parents to make them aware, it is SISAA's goal to reduce drug use among teens. Bertinetti, also explained how parents should react to evidence of drug use and the resources available if they suspect someone is struggling with addiction. Addressing problem behavior early is important to preventing negative consequences of use including unsafe decision-making, car crashes and dependence.
Chester Police officers and Red Bud Police Chief John Brittingham also attended the event to inform the community on current trends they see in the community. In Randolph County, the Human Service Center is ready to help by calling (618) 282-4547.
"Hidden in Plain Sight" is part of the comprehensive prevention plan SISAA is implementing. The coalition is working with Randolph County schools to deliver prevention lessons and conducting a parent communications campaign to continue to educate the community.