Drugs and alcohol were the topics of discussion Monday night at the Wellington Eagles as more than 50 attendees learned what could be “Hidden in Plain Sight.”
Officers from the Bath and Copley police departments made their way to Wellington to show parents common warning signals that their teenage son, daughter, or grandchild could be taking big risks.
Attendees started the night by walking around the replica of a teenager’s bedroom to “snoop and search” for items that could indicate drug or alcohol use, eating disorders, or juvenile crime.
The Hidden in Plain Sight program kicked off in Bath and Copley in 2012 and has been growing ever since. A group of four officers gave its 121st presentation Monday evening.
“It’s taken off more than we ever imagined it would,” Marcie Mason said.
Mason, a youth services worker for Bath and Copley police departments, is one of the Hidden in Plain Sight coordinators. She said the idea for the program stemmed from a similar intervention program in Toledo.
Bath and Copley now bring their intervention program to any community within an hour drive at no cost.
Mason said the group had to limit its reach because organizations from communities three and four hours away were trying to book demonstrations. Other than the summer months and holidays, Mason said the group has been busy all year and is booked all the way to Thanksgiving.
Part of what makes this intervention program different from others is how interactive it is.
“People are allowed to touch the props,” Mason said. “We even pass them around. We try to make it very entertaining.”
Mason said attendees are encouraged to seek out their local law enforcement officers with questions afterward.
She admitted the most effective drug prevention programs are long-term, but Hidden in Plain Sight aims to give adults the information they need to make educated decisions if their child shows signs of risky behavior.
“Usually the reaction is, ‘Wow, my head was in the sand,’” she said.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Copley police officer Duane Scott talks to attendees about the props on the tables.