‘Reality Tour’ shows teens the harsh reality of drug addiction
–Friday night at 5 p.m. a “Reality Tour” program was hosted by the Kayla Peach Memorial Foundation at Daniel Lewis Middle School. The tour, a program designed to prevent drug and alcohol addiction, takes parents and students through the stages of addiction, from first encounter to overdose, in short 30 minute segments.
Throughout the tour, students hear from ex-addicts and law enforcement while being shown the effect that drug addiction has on one’s family, friends, and classmates. Groups will cycle through four rooms and listen to guest speakers talk about their experience with drugs and addiction.
The tour, which began in the gym, broke the main group into three colored subgroups: The red group, the blue group, and the yellow group. Each group follows a different schedule through the cycle of classes listening to a recovering addict, law enforcement, and being shown a skit.
At the very beginning of the tour, the “reality” sets in. A group of teenage girls talks about an upcoming party being hosted by some male classmates where there’s sure to be drugs and alcohol. As they’re talking, the male classmates come up and invite them, eventually pressuring one of the girls into going to the party with them.
“This is a real conversation students at our schools are having every day,” said Paul Press with Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. “Every day our children are facing these decisions and have to decide whether they are going to say no to the peer pressure or cave in.”
Minutes later, another teenage girl rushes in, taking the nearest seat and tossing her backpack to the side. As the speaker continues, K9 Units rush in with a drug dog which leads the officers to the bag, containing what looks like a large quantity of crystal methamphetamine. The girl is then arrested and taken to the police station.
As the groups cycle through the various classrooms, each highlighting a phase in addiction, they gain insight to what it’s like to live as a drug addict.
“You can be three things when you’re an addict,” said Bryce Nearman, a recovering addict and patient at Aegis Treatment Centers, “You can be in jail, you can be homeless, or you can be dead. That’s it. You can’t be successful using drugs; you can’t be successful dealing drugs.”
Further into the tour, students listen to the young girl who was arrested earlier talk about her life as an addict, detailing her arrest, the progression of addiction, and eventual death. As students listen to the final thoughts of the young girl, they enter a scene wherein she has overdosed on heroin as friends try desperately to wake her up.
“The reality tour brings reality to the effects that drugs have on our community. It walks us through the day and life of an addict, all the way from the use and experimenting to an arrest scene, as well as a cardiac scene, and a funeral scene.” said Press.
Another Reality Tour will be hosted Saturday at Daniel Lewis Middle School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.