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Mock bedroom tests parents investigative skills

Salisbury High School hosted the Center for Humanistic Change during open house Sept. 27.

The educational agency set up a mock teen bedroom in the nursing office of the high school, complete with everyday objects used to hide faux drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Michele Ebert a facilitator for CHC, greeted parents and encouraged them to participate in a scavenger hunt to find concealed contraband. At times, Ebert showed parents what they did not discover on their own – secret spots where kids can stash illegal substances. Drug-awareness pamphlets were readily available and a substance identification kit allowed visitors to see labeled samples of different drugs. The combination of teaching tools met the groups’ objective to educate parents on how to identify drugs and where drugs could be hidden in their teen’s room.

Sonia Oliveira, program specialist at CHC, noted parents had mixed feelings when they found drug-related items in the room.

“The parents are loving it but, it’s scary too. One mom said she knew nothing about any of this.”

Oliveira talked to parents about teen drug use explaining, “With drugs, a major part of it is your social influences.”

Tina and Danny Steckel took a walk through the staged room. After locating a few hiding places successfully, they were stunned. “I’m impressed. I never would have thought this was possible,” Tina Steckel said. The findings turned Steckel’s thoughts to their son Joshua, who attends SHS.

“I trust him but I’m still checking.”

CHC not only reaches out to schools, but to other community groups as well.

“We can take it to a church, company or wherever it is requested,” Oliveira said. However, the program is for adults only. “We want to inform the parents but not give the kids any ideas.”

A quote printed on a large white banner gave words of advice for parents, from a parent. The message was from Alison Loyko, the mother of Christopher Loyko, who graduated from Whitehall High School in 2011. Christopher lost his life to a drug overdose. “Search your kids’ rooms and everything in them. They’ll be mad, really mad, but I would have rather had my son be angry at me than plan his funeral.”

Brian Muschlitz, SHS assistant principal, was impressed with the presentation. “It’s powerful, informative and it will help parents.”

The free county sponsored program is available for organizations in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. For more information, visit The Center for Humanistic Change website at www.thechc.org or the website www.drugabuse.gov.

Michele Ebert, facilitator and Kim Moyer, program specialist, with the Center for Humanistic Change are on hand to talk with parents. Sonia Oliveira is not pictured.