GARFIELD, N.J. – Roughly 90 Garfield parents spent last Wednesday evening rifling through a teenager’s bedroom.
But the bedroom didn’t actually belong to any of their children. It was a mock-room set up at Garfield Middle School to help parents learn more about drug paraphernalia or items that could be used to stash drugs.
“Overall, we think that parents learned a lot. They gathered a lot of information, and came out much more informed than when they came in,” said Garfield Prevention Coalition Coordinator Iman Johnson, who helped facilitate the program.
The event, dubbed “Hidden in Plain Sight” was the latest to be held in Bergen County. In the past, parents of students in Wallington, Cresskill, and Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey have participated, Johnson said.
Johnson said many parents at last week’s event found items in the room that were clearly drug-related, “but many of them were also surprised by other items that they didn’t realize were alcohol or drug-related.”
One item that surprised many parents, she said, was a vaporizer – that could be used to vape drugs – that resembled an average pen.
“These items exist and it is important to understand your child and know if there is a change in their behavior, and then from there, take the necessary steps to protect your child,” she said.
Parents also interacted with a panel, which included a person in recovery as well as a mother whose daughter is in recovery.
The program was a joint effort by the Bergen County Prevention Coalition, Garfield Prevention Coalition, Garfield Police Department and Garfield School Board.