Reality Tour Components
The dramatic scenes are an eye opening experience. These scenes portray the unembellished ultimate consequences of drug addiction. An accompanying audio narrative gives context to the scenes and allows the audience to follow the story of a teen addicted to heroin. This portion of the program gives the participants a true perspective of the real physical and emotional consequences of addiction. Once completing this portion of the program, participants have a greater appreciation for the serious nature of substance abuse. They are motivated to learn about the problem and how they can protect both themselves as well as family and friends. Capitalizing on this motivation, the second half of the Reality Tour program finalizes the prevention message utilizing various interactive methods and techniques.
Law enforcement is represented in the Reality Tour program during the arrest in the dramatic scenes, the jail or intake process, and most importantly during the question and answer session. We believe it is important for local law enforcement to address the current trends and risks. While the problem of substance abuse is consistent, its methods and symptoms are ever-changing. Local law enforcement is an excellent resource for current information on the climate of substance abuse within the community. The Reality Tour program offers a captive and motivated audience of both parent and child for law enforcement to address.
The best resources for information about substance abuse are those who have lived through it. Each Reality Tour program presents an addict’s story and allows the audience to ask questions. It is difficult for youth to understand how the decisions they make as an adolescent can shape their future, unless they hear it firsthand.
Some common questions are:
- How did you start using drugs?
- How did you know when you were addicted?
- What is it like being addicted to drugs?
- What made you quit and how did you do it?
Throughout the Reality Tour program, many recurring lessons are presented. They are interwoven into various delivery methods designed to reinforce key components of the prevention message.
Some of these lessons include:
It Can Happen to You
A common perception of youth is that bad things cannot, or will not, happen to them. During the narration heard prior to the dramatic scenes, the message “Once I was just like you.” is recurring. This parallel is also revisited during the addict in recovery and law enforcement Q & A sessions, citing that “no one thinks they will ever be addicted, it is not something that people set out to do.” Through these experiences it is emphasized that everyday choices, from friends to activities, begin to shape the future path in life.
It’s Hard to Stop
At each Reality Tour program, the participants are challenged by a very personal, private and unique exercise in self-discipline. The success or failure in this activity is not important, but doing this exercise gives respect to the difficulty that addicts in recovery face every day to overcome their craving. Today’s youth are rarely asked to give up anything that they desire. The true measure of their level of self-discipline can be most revealing.
Teamwork & Communication
It is extremely important that parent & child view themselves as a team. Each person on this team has a role to play and must keep open and frequent communication. The parent must set boundaries, monitor their child, support positive activities, and maintain frequent talks about current issues or ones that may arise in the future. The child needs to understand the role of the parent and appreciate that their involvement is to provide protection and help them succeed. The child must feel comfortable talking to their parent about anything and everything. In order for this to occur, both the parent and child have to feel that they are working together and set aside time to talk about serious matters.
The process of implementing a successful Reality Tour program can be thought of as putting on additional layers as you further your integration into the community. These layers will ensure that you have a thriving program that will continue its success in the years to come. The goal of adding layers is to increase attendance, build value as a community asset, and maximize efficacy. Once the Reality Tour program is implemented in your community and is being accessed by the general public you may begin to build your layers.
Prevention Partnership this layer provides a way for the Reality Tour program to integrate with your school districts. Providing an evening drug prevention experience, that does not impact the limited time of the school day, is highly valued by school administration. This layer focuses on targeting a particular grade level (including parents) for attendance at the Reality Tour program in an innovative way.
This layer outlines a specific policy for working with judicially mandated youth accompanied by their parent, guardian or counselor. Integrating with your judicial system is an excellent way to increase the attendance of those who are already exhibiting risk taking behaviors. While these youth are not distinguishable from the general public during the Reality Tour program, special arrangements and guidelines are necessary to ensure that all parties benefit from this relationship.