Parents tooled in awareness when kids might be experimenting with substances

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[September 20, 2017]  LINCOLN

On Saturday a free interactive live exhibit was set up during the ALMH Market for parents and those over age 18 to see how substance abuse may be hidden in plain sight.

In the exhibit area participants walked through a mock teenager bedroom which held several drug and alcohol related substances hidden in plain sight.

The exhibit was provided and set up by the Community Partners Against Substance Abuse Coalition in Bureau and Putnam Counties. The ALMH Community Health Collaborative Opiod Task Force, and Lincoln and Logan County Crime Stoppers sponsored the event. DARE Officer Christy Fruge was also there with an exhibit showing substances which parents need to be made aware.

Around the market were other exhibits and signs showing statistics from an Illinois youth survey on how many and how often teens in Logan County have experimented with drugs or alcohol.

After the tour, Janice Wamhoff of Community Partners Against Substance Abuse Coalition (CPASAC) gave a brief presentation on what to look for. Wamhoff said the coalition has been around for eight years and has fifty members who meet monthly to help combat substance abuse.

Wamhoff showed parents what to look for if you suspect your child might be abusing substances. She said that by high school, a number of teens have experimented with drugs or alcohol, so it is important to be aware of possible problems.

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Representing the group Community Partners Against Substance Abuse Coalition (CPASAC) from left to right are Randy Singleton, Tina Dolder, Janice Wamhoff, Kerri Hicks, and Brian Duran.

Wamhoff said it is important for parents to start talking to kids when they are young. You need to ask yourself, "What are they doing?" and "Who are they hanging out with?" Wamhoff said it is important to pay attention to what your kids are doing and who they spend time with.

Wamhoff said that bedroom belongs to you and you have every right to go into their bedroom and see what is going on. She said walking through the room and seeing something you are concerned about does not indicate they are doing anything, but "it is a perfect opportunity for you guys to sit down and have a discussion with your children as to what is going on in their life."

Brochures set out in front of CPASA exhibit shared myths and facts about underage drinking and drug use with the reminder that parents are "the first line of defense when it comes to your child's drug use or drinking."

Once the presentation was over, ALMH Marketing and Community Partnerships Manager Angela Stoltzenburg encouraged people to look at the county statistics posted around the market. Stoltzenburg said it is important for you to know what is happening here. You need to know what the kids are up to.

[Angela Reiners]

For more information see:

2016 Illinois Youth Survey, Logan County Report

Community Partners Against Substance Abuse - CPASA

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