What started out as a problem-solving idea for my community to address the influx of heroin on our streets in 2003, is now an evidence-based prevention program impacting over 55,000 parents and children.
It was the voice of parents at town meetings and forums that helped design Reality Tour. Parents wanted a prevention program they could attend with their child to learn about the risks together. In 2003, no such program existed. The task at hand was to develop a parent/child program to relate the risks and consequences of drug misuse and offer ways to avoid experimentation. It had to be interactive, engaging and up to date on drug trends.
Reality Tour began with narrated scenes showing the consequences, interactive coping skills and hearing from youth in recovery to show addiction can happen to anyone. The response from parents was immediate and soon there was a 3-month wait to attend. Because of extensive TV news coverage, other communities were asking how they could start this program. The 501c3 nonprofit organization Community Action Network for Drugfree Lifestyle Empowerment (CANDLE, Inc) was formed.
By 2007, with Reality Tours now in other states, the need to reach evidence-based status was a priority. Through a research grant, a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy resulted in acceptance to SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
Over the years, Reality Tour has evolved into an easy to replicate, sustainable prevention system with a common sense approach. Finally, communities have a way to ‘take care of their own’ when it comes to prevention.
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Press & News Articles
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By Jeremy Sellew Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 12:16 a.m. After three long years, the Reality Tour has finally arrived in the Mon Valley. The first run of the program was held Monday at Belle Vernon Area High School. While the target audience will be parents and children ages 10 and older, the first go-round was … Read more
April 15, 2014 Prevention and Recovery Services and Safe Streets recently conducted an event at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Reality Tour 2014 began on March 30 and ended March 31. The event focused on poor decisions concerning alcohol, drugs and tobacco and how they impact a family and community members. The event … Read more
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 … Read more
LIGHTHOUSE will present their second Reality Tour® Sunday, March 2, at 1:00pmand 4:00pm at the Atascadero Colony Park Community Center. The Reality Tour® Drug Prevention program was created by Norma Norris of Butler, PA in 2003, and is now promoted through the nonprofit organization CANDLE, Inc. LIGHTHOUSE has purchased the Reality Tour® Program for use … Read more
Letter to the Editor: Indiana Gazette – November 20, 2013 For several months now, the Indiana County Reality Tour has been publicized in The Indiana Gazette. I attended this tour several months ago and would like to commend the organization and all who have made this program possible. This drug prevention program depicts how … Read more
TribLive – Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 By Jeremy Sellew What began as a run-of-the-mill school board meeting quickly turned into a heart-wrenching plea from parents asking the district to do more to fight the growing drug epidemic throughout the community. After hearing about a school district plan to create its own drug summit proposal, a … Read more
TRIBLIVE – Oct. 23, 2013 By A.J. Panian Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:01 p.m. The inaugural Mt. Pleasant Reality Tour on Oct. 31 will bring Westmoreland County to the forefront of one of America’s fastest-growing drug prevention initiatives, according to Norma Norris, executive director of CANDLE Inc., a Butler-based nonprofit which developed the event. … Read more
Tribune-Review – February 21, 2013 By Mary Pickels A Murrysville man will hold a Reality Tour planning session at 6 p.m. Monday in an effort to activate the drug and alcohol awareness program in his community. Shannon Gazze attended a Reality Tour informational session Wednesday at the Westmoreland County Courthouse. He invited area residents to … Read more