Reality Tour Returns to Port Jervis to make its Second Showing in New York State

Port Jervis, NY – Port Jervis Pride along with the Port Jervis Police Department, Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Port Jervis Neighborhood Watch, will present this years second Reality Tour on May 1, 2019, at City Hall in the City of Port Jervis. This will be New York States second Reality Tour after making its debut earlier this year in January.

The Reality Tour Drug Prevention Program is a national project of the nonprofit CANDLE, Inc. based in Butler, PA. The program was created in 2003 during a heroin crisis. It is now an evidence-based program replicated in communities in several states and Canada.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office graciously purchased the Reality Tour Program at the end of 2018 for use in Orange County, NY, after receiving a proposal from Port Jervis Neighborhood Watch Chairman Niki Jones. Niki said, “There are many ways to take care of a community and drug education is one that benefits everyone. Step by step we must all work together to diminish the drug epidemic happening in our communities. Reality Tour is an engaging program that brings parents and children together to give an unforgettable experience that will steer them in the right direction.”

“Education, treatment, and enforcement are the pillars of our strategy to address the opioid epidemic in this County,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler, “and I view Reality Tour as a valuable component of the education piece of that strategy. Since before I became District Attorney, I have sought to bring the authority of the District Attorney’s Office to bear in order to help educate people about the dangers of drug abuse.

“The Reality Tour is an example of how communities can collaboratively respond together to provide an effective prevention program that educates parents and youth about the risks posed by drug and alcohol experimentation.  This highly dramatic, reality based program provides an essential foundation of the real life dangers of drug use and will help parents and loved ones develop on-going discussions in the home and increased parental involvement to ensure that our children make the right decisions to stay drug free,” Said Port Jervis Police Chief William Worden.

As drug use in our nation runs rampant and arguments against the best type of cure are still yet to be found, we have an opportunity.  That opportunity is to get a conversation and dialog started between a child and their parent by involving them in a negative life-altering scenario before it happens for real. This is certainly a proactive step in the right direction for drug use and abuse education.  “Many “Thanks” go out to those involved to see that our community becomes a healthier place for us and our children,” said Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker.

Reality Tour is very effective in changing the beliefs of parents and youth in regard to the risks posed by drug/alcohol experimentation. Parents and their children age 10-18 attend the program together to ‘get on the same page.’ This prompts ongoing discussion in the home along with improved parental monitoring and increases the youth’s perception of harm. Parent and child now have a foundation of essential information to build upon – that makes all the difference.

Reality Tour’s brief dramatic scenes depicting the ‘Walk in the life and death of a teen on drugs’ has significant impact and is followed by a coping skills segment to develop a family plan of action.

The tour is recommended for children age 10 and up when accompanied by their parent. Advance reservation is necessary, as space is limited.

Participants will follow the fate of a fictitious teen addicted to drugs. The Tour includes an Arrest and Prison Experience as well as dramatic Emergency Room Overdose Scene and Funeral scene. A narrative by the “addict’ precedes each scene and includes the constant reminder to the audience that, “Once I was just like you.”

Each attendee will be given a drug abuse profile to adopt during the program, so that participants can become familiar with different addictive drugs as well as gateway drugs.

“Operation P.J PRIDE is honored to be the first community coalition in the State of New York to be hosting Reality Tour in the City of Port Jervis. This evidence-based program is needed in every community to make sure both parents and youth are on the same page to see the potential dangers of a substance abuse problem. This event truly takes a village to complete and it would not be possible without our collaboration with Port Jervis City Police Department, Port Jervis City Neighborhood Watch, Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster. This event has also been sponsored by the Brittney Schuppe Family who generously paid for every person that attends this session of the Reality Tour. Youth in every community face pressure from their peers on a daily basis, so our goal is to show them the true reality of how quickly drugs can take over their lives.” Said Operation P.J PRIDE Coordinator Megan Robbins.

If you are interested in attending this event with your child, please visit https://operationpjpride.wixsite.com/home/reality-tour-registration

Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of local law enforcement and a recovery spokesperson.  Attendees can commit to a drug-free life by tracing their handprint on the Reality Tour banner.