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Students Get a Dose of Reality About Drug Use

Annual tour designed to show the dangers of using narcotics comes to Wayne Valley.

A student walks up to a boy she likes and tries some “stuff” he has. She likes it. He tells her they’ll be more of it at a party he’s hosting at his house while his parents are out of town. She says she’ll be there.

A 16-year-old student walks down the hallway at school and all of a sudden, just collapses. Emergency medical personnel attempt to resuscitate him but its too late. He’s dead.

A funeral is held for the boy. His mother leans over the coffin, crying.

Dozens of parents and children learned the consequences of taking drugs and just how easily they can be obtained at the Reality Tour at Wayne Valley High School Wednesday. The Wayne Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse sponsored the annual event.

Residents heard from local police, first aid squad volunteers, and recovering drug addicts and alcoholics about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Students re-enacted scenes that show popular settings where they are pressured into trying drugs and alcohol.

Juvenile drug arrests in Wayne have increased 28 percent since last year, said Sgt. Charles Ahearn, head of the police department’s youth bureau.

“The numbers continue to rise every year,” Ahearn said. “Marijuana is the drug of choice right now.”

Ahearn stressed the need for parents to ask their kids questions and always know where they are going and whom they are hanging out with.

“I don’t think as a parent you can’t be too on top of your kids,” Ahearn said.

Chris Ratcliffe, a Wayne EMT who helps run a Methadone clinic in East Orange for recovering heroin addicts, spoke about just how quickly someone who is overdosing on drugs: four minutes.

Ratcliffe encouraged parents to dispose of their unused prescription medications. Kids often begin taking the drugs that they can find the most easily.

Three recovering drug addicts from Straight & Narrow in Paterson spoke about the effect drugs had on each one of them. Straight & Narrow is a non-profit that works to help recovering addicts, among other social causes.

Fleix, a 37-year-old recovering alcoholic from Straight & Narrow, said he never thought he could become a drug addict.

“Crack cocaine took everything away from me,” he said. “The first time you try it, you can get hooked. It was my love for 15 years.”

Sharon was a drug addict for 30 years.

“People say, ‘That’ll it’ll never be me.’ Well why not? It could be you,” she said. “Thirty years of addiction and I have nothing to show for it. Drugs don’t discriminate.”

For more information about drug prevention, call the police department’s youth bureau at 973-633-3540.

The Board of Education sponsors the Be Proud program, a voluntary drug and alcohol prevention program offered to high school students. Participating students pledge not to take drugs or alcohol and submit to random, voluntary drug screenings.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Packanack1996 October 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM
This was a very powerful presentation for the kids. As a parent, I found the Q&A with Wayne EMA/Police and Drug Addicts very informative. A big thank you to the Wayne Alliance for this presentation.
brendalee October 25, 2012 at 10:48 PM
It should be presented to elementary and middle school students...modified s necessary

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