Community-Based Drug Prevention

Reality Tour skits focus on drug abuse

The News Eagle

By Kelly Waters

Posted Mar 05, 2012 @ 05:58 PM

Milford, Pa.

During the Feb. 22 meeting of the Pike County Commissioners, members of the Child Death Review Team spoke about the upcoming Reality Tour. The Child Death Review Team will present the Reality Tour drug prevention program on March 10, April 14 and May 19 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Milford. The Child Death Review Team reviews all deaths occurring in Pike County from birth to 21 years in order to determine ways to prevent future deaths.

“Our job is to come up with ways to prevent future deaths, says Jill Gamboni, CCIS Director. “In 2008 one of the projects we came up with was the Reality Tour Drug Prevention because we were reviewing overdose deaths.”

The team has found that adolescent deaths directly related to drugs or alcohol has escalated in our county. The Reality Tour Drug Prevention program was created by Norma Norris of Butler, Pa. in 2003, and is now promoted through the non-profit organization CANDLE, INC.

“The program is designed for a parent and child to attend together, says Gamboni. “We want the message to reach both. One in four families has a drug problem in their families, whether it be someone directly related to them or if it’s an aunt, uncle or someone else in the family.”

The tour is recommended for children 10 and up when accompanied by a parent. Advance reservation is recommended, as space is limited. Parental consent is also required along with a five-dollar suggested donation registration fee.

“We would like as many people as we can to come out and see this program,” adds Gamboni. “We have the support of the Milford Fire Department, the Pike County Coroner’s Office, the Pike County Commissioners, the Pike County

District Attorney’s Office, the Shohola Police Department, the Eastern Pike Regional Police and Milford Police. There are a ton of people who help out with this.”

Gamboni says that they can use actors for the Reality Tour, but says they are very fortunate in the community that they don’t need them. She says real people come out and help do this.

“They take their time and we’re all volunteers, she says. “It takes about 30 volunteers to pull off this Reality Tour.”

The Reality Tour takes place at the First Presbyterian Church and is a licensed program from CANDLE, INC. It is a site-specific license meaning it can only be held at the Presbyterian Church.

Participants will follow the fate of a fictitious teen addicted to heroin. The tour includes six dramatic scenes; a peer pressure scene, an arrest and prison experience as well as dramatic emergency room overdose scene and funeral scene. All of these scenes are performed by community volunteers.

A narrative by the “addict” precedes each scene including the constant reminder “I’m Just like You.” The overall message of the Reality Tour combats the youthful belief “It can’t happen to me.” Each attendee will be given a drug abuse profile to adopt during the program so that participants can become familiar with different addictive drugs including the “gateway drugs.”

“It is a very dramatic experience,” says Gamboni. “After the Reality Tour, the District Attorney’s Office has a detective come and speak to the audience about what’s happening in community.”

At the end of the tour, kids and teens put their handprint on the banner and that’s their pledge to be drug free. Gamboni says that she hopes they follow through with that.

Registration forms can be found at www.realitytour.org. If you would like to know more about this program, register for a tour or are able to lend your support in any way please call Jill Gamboni at (570) 296-3447 or (570) 390-9102.

Gamboni also talked about the Good Samaritan Law in Pa. that provides immunity to underage drinkers who call 9-1-1 because someone needs medical attention. The individual must provide their name and stay with the person until paramedics arrive.

“The law eliminates the disincentive for underage drinkers to call for help,” says Gamboni. “It’s unfortunate that we need it, but it’s great it passed.”