HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Do you know what could be hidden in plain sight in your teenager’s bedroom?
Parents were given the opportunity to find out at St. Paul’s Baptist Church (4247 Creighton Road) in Henrico County.
The community based non-profit Nia Inc. of Greater Richmond’s Lead & Seed program put on an interactive drug prevention exhibit set in a mock bedroom.
“We are going to hopefully give parents an opportunity to walk into a bedroom and observe and become familiar with the things that are trending now that kids are doing that involves alcohol or any kind of substance abuse so it’s about the education of parents,” said Pamela Parker, who organized the Hidden in Plain Site exhibit.
Parents were given seven minutes to list items that could be an indicator that a teen is abusing drugs and or alcohol.
“I think it’s great because one it helps the parents to be aware that it is happening and what to look for,” said high school parent Cassandra Simmons.
Everything from candy to a computer mouse was displayed. Thirty-three items in all were potential red flags in the exhibit.
Simmons listed 10 of those items.
“I’m totally surprised,” Simmons said. “I didn’t imagine half of the stuff that was on the list that would be something that would contain paraphernalia.
I think at home I’m going to be cautious about things I see and looking for things just to make sure he’s staying on track,” she added.
“We’re not necessarily losing the battle, but we’re losing too many battles with kids having difficulty with alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs,” said Parker. “This is just one way that we can help educate parents without them feeling uncomfortable or intimidated about things they don’t know.”
Organizers say the goal is to reduce the amount of drug and alcohol abuse in the community.
The Henrico County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office were on hand to guide participants through the exhibit. The Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services discussed the current opioid crisis and the Too Smart To Start Coalition provide resources. A teen session was also offered.
Hanover County has held these exhibits, but this is the first time Henrico has participated.