To help prevent drug and alcohol abuse by youths, Dublin City School District officials are providing a game of hide-and-seek for parents and community members.
The event, open to those 21 years old and older, aptly titled CanYouSeeMeNow, features a simulated teen bedroom that is designed to help parents identify where young people might hide drugs and other substances.
The program is funded by HART and the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County. It is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road. The school district also is partnering with the Dublin Police Department for the event. HART is an acronym for Health Awareness & Recovery Together, an organization that was started by Hilliard Optimist Club board member Kathy Kean.
The organization worked with the Hilliard City School District and the Hilliard Police Department. Additional collaboration with the police department resulted in the creation of the CanYouSeeMeNow program.
The CanYouSeeMeNow "bedroom" is set up so parents can see how easily young people can hide things, said GeorgiAnn Diniaco, a Dublin City School District substance abuse prevention counselor.
"Sometimes things are right there in front of us, and we don't know it," Diniaco said.
The bedroom is being shared with the school district via HART, which purchased the setup with grant funding from the ADAMH board, Diniaco said.
In addition to the bedroom, the event also will feature a resource fair with information about local treatment centers, Diniaco said.
The event is part of the school district's efforts to educate the community about drugs and other substance abuse, Diniaco said. The district held a program in November and hopes to have at least one more program in April, she said.
In Dublin, surveys have shown students' first drug of choice is alcohol, followed by marijuana, Diniaco said.
Mary Kay Bulmer, a school-based clinician with Syntero, works as a substance-use specialist with Dublin City School District students. She said she also has found alcohol and marijuana are the most popular substances students use. Rarely, students also disclose using other substances such as LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, ecstasy or molly, she said.
Students hide substances in numerous places, including areas such as a garage, basement or tool shed, Bulmer said.
"They're definitely very creative," she said.
A program such as CanYouSee-MeNow, or a similar drug awareness presentation, is beneficial to any community, said Chuck Collier, a Dublin police officer.
"We, as parents, often think we are the only ones who are dealing with kids who are using, or are the only ones who don't know what to do," Collier said.
"We have to break that mindset and show parents that we all have these same questions and concerns, and more importantly, don't have to deal with it all by ourselves.
"There is help and guidance available if we know where to go," Collier said.