HomePrinceton PacketA new program called Hidden In Plain Sight comes to Princeton

A new program called Hidden In Plain Sight comes to Princeton

Hidden In Plain Sight is a three pronged approach to awareness for parents, students and guardians in Princeton.

Gary DeBlasio, the Executive Director of Corner House Behavioral Health in Princeton, staked his claim that this program that treats substance abuse and emotional issues offers positive education to the community, especially parents.

Hidden In Plain Sight is designed to educate parents on concealment techniques by children who experiment with drugs and alcohol. The program is an extension of a national program presented by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“We found out about the DEA having this program in January. We then decided that this would be a good program to have for this community,” he said. “It helps parents have an awareness of what is going on with their child and what they needed to look for.”

On April 9, the program will take place inside the John Witherspoon Middle School auditorium in Princeton and will run from 7-9 p.m., according to DeBlasio. The school is located at 217 Walnut Lane.

“We are approaching this program in three ways,” he said. “We have some seniors from four high schools in Princeton present a substance and alcohol use survey with more than 540 students in the various high schools. We then will discuss with parents the signs and symptoms they should be aware of with their children. Our third approach will be having Donna DiStefano, a parent who had a child with an alcohol and drug issue, talk about the most effective ways for parents to talk to their children. She will talk about what she did that did not work so well and what did.”

DiStefano is the founder of the non-profit Parents In Connection for Kids. She will be presenting during the event, as will DEA special agent Timothy McMahon, according to program officials.

There will be a mock bedroom on the stage in the auditorium, where McMahon guides audience attendees through the various places in the bedroom where substances and other bad influence items can be hidden, according to DeBlasio.

“I was told the DEA hides 23-24 items and have the parents come up and try to find them. I think most parents find two or three of the items. The mock bedroom will give them a sense of what to look for,” he said.

DeBlasio said he wants people who attend the event to takeaway the importance of communication with their child.

“There are topics today you do not need to be afraid of talking with your child about. There needs to be set expectations on what the family values are regards to drug and alcohol abuse,” DeBlasio said.

Corner House Behavioral Health is presenting this program in cooperation with The Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance and the Princeton Police Department, according to program officials.

For more information about the program event, contact Corner House at 609-924-8018 or email jwoodman@cornerhousenj.org.

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