Community-Based Drug Prevention

Somerset Jaycees help bring Reality Tour to the county

Posted on Oct 25, 2014

by RICK KAZMER

Daily American City Editor rickk@dailyamerican.com

A drug prevention program coming to Somerset County will show the step-by-step path of addiction — including the worst possible outcome — with a goal to keep families from realizing the nightmare.

The Reality Tour’s focus is prevention, however, not scare tactics, according to organizers.

“It’s consequence based,” tour co-director Jeff Dombrosky said. He and co-director Kris Kreger decided to help launch the tour locally. The program was developed by Candle Inc., a nonprofit organization that holds similar tours around the country.

It will utilize a team of about 40 volunteers, video and other aids to show participants the path of addiction — from peer pressure situations to the funeral home.

In Somerset, the group plans to hold tours monthly, starting in January.

They credit the Somerset Jaycees with providing the financial backing and support to meet that commitment. The group donated $3,500 to help with the startup and has pledged to pay $500 in yearly administration costs. Several Jaycees are also volunteers for the program.

Jaycees President Josh Broucher said the charitable organization was looking for a worthy cause to help. Former member, Somerset resident Mark Miller, suggested the tour, he said.

“It’s (drug use) bad everywhere,”  Broucher said. “You see these little kids, the future of the county and of the state, we made that commitment long term.”

Somerset County Drug and Alcohol Commission Director Erin Howsare said the tour is an example of community members stepping up to the plate to take on a tough issue. The commission is among several other groups supporting the tour.

“Nobody wants to believe that it can happen to their child. This (Reality Tour) shows the devastating consequences,” she said.

The commission works with drug prevention programs around the county. Howsare said heroin has surpassed alcohol as the No. 1 drug of choice for adult addicts that the county has deemed in need of help. Within the last year she said there has been almost 500 clients.

Substance abuse involving alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are down among youth, she said. Marijuana is an area of concern.

Kreger, who has a family member suffering with addiction, liked that parents are required to take the tour with their children.

Dombrosky said he has attended tours in other towns where children appeared to at first have a nonchalant attitude.

“They thought, ‘just another drug program,’” he said. “By the end the parents and children were embracing.”

For more information, to help with or donate to the tour, contact organizers at somersetcountyrealitytour@gmail.com.