Lighthouse sheds cold light on drug use

Feb 22nd, 2014: Paso Robles Press

ATASCADERO — Residents who have dedicated their lives to the well-being of children are giving them and their families a cold, hard look at the result of drug use March 2.

Local anti-addiction organization, Lighthouse, will host two Reality Tours at the Colony Park Community Center on Sunday, March 2, the first at 1 p.m. and the second at 4 p.m., featuring scenes recreated from the life of an addict.

“They are taken on a tour, literally, through a series of events in the life of an addict that includes an arrest scene, an overdose scene and a funeral scene,” said Lighthouse chairperson Chris Balogh. “The Atascadero Police Department turn it on pretty big with the police cars and ambulances and recreate what this would look like.”

Among other drugs circulating, there has been a rise in the use of heroin — a drug that often kills suddenly and which frequently takes medical treatment to withdraw safely. It’s with that in mind that Atascadero Police Commander Joe Allen is working with Lighthouse — to save young lives. In the Reality Tour, Allen participates in the life scene featuring the arrest of a drug user breaking the law to support his or her habit, a scene he wants to reduce in real life by giving our children a wake-up call.

“Instead of ignoring them, Lighthouse is shining down on these kids, and the great success stories coming out of this are miraculous,” Allen said. “If there is a kid out there in trouble and can be saved, we want to be there — that’s our goal.”

For the complete article see the 02-21-2014 issue.

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