Exhibit exposes signs of substance abuse

Exhibit Exposes Signs Of Substance Abuse

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) - Drug use among teens continues to grow both nationally and locally. But one organization is aiming to give parents a "wake-up-call" when it comes to how local teens are using and hiding drugs

WAKE UP CALL, which is organized by the Monroe County Safe Community Coalition in Sparta, is a life-size exhibit of a teen's bedroom with more than 50 red flags that may signal drug or alcohol use.    

The exhibit looks like a typical bedroom, but it identifies spots where teens may hide drugs, household items that can be used as drugs and ways teens may cover it up.

With the help of drug investigators, event organizers were able to find out about popular drugs some teens in Wisconsin are using. And with the help of recovering drug addicts, they discovered where these drugs are being hidden.

"There are so many things that are out there, that are concerning for parents nowadays that the drug culture is totally different than it was back when we were growing up," said Natalie Carlisle, Drug-Free Communities coordinator.

Drug prevention specialists say having an exhibit like WAKE UP CALL, helps bring awareness to how new generations are evolving.

"Not every parent has had exposure to drugs or have been in that environment, and so sometimes they're just naive or just unaware, not informed, and I myself have been around doing this for about 26 years now in the government and I've been exposed to a lot but there is things that I've learned as well," said Michelle Bourman of Fort McCoy Army Substance Abuse Program.

"We're providing education, we're encouraging parents to do drug testing to learn how to develop relationships with their kids and to have those conversations that are really difficult to have," said Carlisle.

The first WAKE UP CALL exhibit originally started in Hartland, Wisconsin by an organization called Your Choice to Live.

Event organizers say there are plans to bring the exhibit to the La Crosse area sometime in the near future.

Details on when the exhibit is open to the public can be found on under the Resource Center link.

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