Local Drug and Alcohol Council Unveils Heroin Education Trailer

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Inside the “Heroin Van” — a replica of a teenage drug user’s bedroom

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, the Kent County Local Drug and Alcohol Council unveiled “a new initiative in an effort to create awareness, education, and treatment intervention opportunities for folks dealing with substance abuse issues.” This new program involves a traveling “teenager’s bedroom on wheels.”   This bedroom on wheels will provide an educational opportunity for parents. Staff will use the van to show parents what to look for and to let them know about other resources to assist people with substance abuse problems– especially opioid related.

​The 7’ x 14’ trailer was purchased by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff John Price said, “The trailer was purchased using seized drug related funds. It is our hope that this will help educate families and provide a unique way to deliver resources throughout Kent County for people who need help dealing with substance abuse.” Sheriff Price also recognized Warden Herb Dennis of the Kent County Detention Center and Director Wayne Darrell and Ginger Gregg from the Office of Emergency Services for their help with the project.

Volunteers and staff associated with the Kent County LDAC at the unveiling of the new van on Wed. Jan 3.

The trailer made its public debut in the parking lot of the Kent County office building at 400 High Street. After a meeting of the Local Drug and Alcohol Council in the County Commissioners’ meeting room, members were given a chance to view the trailer, which at first glance appears to be an innocent replica of a teenager’s bedroom. But on closer inspection, many “ordinary” objects are revealed as hiding places for drugs or drug paraphernalia.

Gregg said the trailer will be open to adults (over age 18) only, so as to avoid giving young people ideas about ways to cover up drug use. For the same reason, she asked the Spy not to publish details of the hiding places in the bedroom.  We can note, however, that despite the road sign on the bedroom wall, there is no Interstate 420.  There were originally plans to build a by-pass around Atlanta, GA, off Interstate 20 that would have been called I-420, but it was never built and has been officially canceled.  The term 420 has been a code word for smoking marijuana since the early 1970s.  It supposedly refers to the the time 4:20 pm after school when kids would meet to smoke.  Other stories offer different origins for the term, but whatever the source, young people have been buying — or stealing — road signs with the number 420 for years.  It’s appearance on a teen’s bedroom wall does not, of course, prove drug use but it is an indication that the teen is aware of drug slang.  This sign was just one of many “clues” in the van.

​The trailer will travel around the county where staff will show it to people, while explaining what to look for.  There will also be informational pamphlets that parents can take home with contact information on other resources for help on substance abuse. Gregg said the LDAC plans to bring the bedroom on wheels to community events such as Chestertown Tea Party and Galena Dogwood Festival and to schools and churches to spread awareness. Organizations wishing to schedule a visit should call Ginger Gregg at 410-778-7472 or Sheriff Price at 410-778-2279. Every effort will be made to accommodate requests.

According to Price there were 18 verified opioid overdoses, including one death, in Kent county in 2017.  However, he said, not all overdoses are reported, so this is a conservative number.

Gregg said, “We are working hard to deliver the needed awareness and resources for our communities throughout Kent County. Please call us!”

A side view of the heroin van

The rear of the heroin van, with a list of sponsors

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Letters to Editor

  1. Nora Becker says:

    I love this outreach – so glad to see the LDAC is taking this on! As a former Prevention Coordinator and substance abuse counselor with the KCHD, I try to keep up with the news there and this is a great idea. Keep up the good work and keep heart that what you are doing really does make a difference.

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