On April 30 at 6:30 p.m., the Moorestown Home & School Association will present a drug awareness program called “Not My Kid” in the Moorestown High School Auditorium. This event has been created to give parents the opportunity to learn about the current drug and party culture of today’s youth through various hands-on activities and presenters from different organizations.
The program will begin with parents walking through an interactive bedroom exhibit from Hidden in Plain Sight, an organization that plants 50 drugs within the exhibit and then explains to parents what’s actually hidden inside the room. The program will also have presentations from the Moorestown High School substance abuse coordinator, Cate Booth, and a former MHS graduate and college athlete whose addiction stemmed from a sports injury. A brief documentary called “If They Had Known” will be shown, and the Moorestown Police mobile Project Medicine Drop will be there, among various other presentations.
“The goal of the evening is to increase awareness on drug paraphernalia so that parents can identify early signs and have educated discussions,” said Carin Troy, Moorestown High School Home & School chair. “I think as a society we have done a really great job educating the youth on the dangers of cigarettes, but all these new options have come up pretty quickly around our community and parents are a little behind.”
While this program is a follow-up to a previous event held by Troy and Booth, the subject is more specific. The idea for the event came from simply an educational need in the community. After the community had made the district aware that it sought more information on the subject, the board of education and the Moorestown Home & School Association reached out to the Hidden in Plain Sight organization and the creators of the documentary to create the content for the program.
According to Booth, this program is to empower parents with knowledge and familiarity of these new trends. While kids are still engaging in drugs, alcohol and nicotine as they have in years past, the way they are doing it now has changed.
“It’s much different than when we were younger,” said Booth. “The system has changed. Things look different. The devices and paraphernalia have changed, so teaching parents the new ways that drugs and alcohol are being consumed and the devices that they are using is really beneficial. Instead of drinking a beer from the refrigerator, they are consuming alcohol gummies. With marijuana, it’s instead of smoking a joint, it’s vaping in oil. It’s still the same drug and the same issues, just the method has changed.”
Not only will this program talk about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, but it will also tackle a nationwide crisis on opioids and painkillers. Often these addictions stem from surgeries and the overuse of prescription pills, which is why Troy believed it was important to have a former MHS graduate and college athlete tell their story and allow the Moorestown Police to have their medicine drop-off to get the pills out of the house.
“Educating parents on the risk of opioids is also important, it’s not just drugs and alcohol,” said Troy. “The challenge with prescription drugs is that kids have access to them within the house. Perhaps someone had surgery and it’s just sitting in the house. It’s important to have a safe place to dispose of them.”
“Part of the reason we named it ‘Not My Kid’ is because no one thinks this can happen in their family,” Troy continued. “The point is that it can happen to anyone, and the more educated that parents and the adults that interact with children in this town are, the more we can prevent any addiction going forward. If we help at least one family in this town, then the night is worth it.”