Reality Tour

Ashley Beaken, Editor

When I was in third grade I walked into the Westmoreland County Court House, I was checked by security then sent through a door that led to the main hallway. The first thing that they did was take a mugshot of me. Using photoshop they had created a picture based off of my mugshot of what I would look like in 20 years if I got into drugs. In the picture I looked way older than I should’ve, the picture was supposed to be when I was around the age of 30, instead of looking 30, I looked like I was about 60. I had a bloody lip and a black eye in the picture in addition to looking super pale. Being only a third grader the picture scared me, but the experience that followed filled me with even more fear which I still remember today.
The Reality Tour is designed for preteens to show them the terrible consequences that can come from doing drugs. Taking a tour through a day in the life of a drug addict shows you the reality of how bad drugs can truly be.

At the tour, young adults go through different scenes including: Peer pressure, Arrest/Prison, Emergency room/Overdose, and Funeral viewing. It is stressed that this is not a joke and it is to be taken seriously.
The voice of a young teenager plays consistently throughout the tour.
“I just want to be cool like everyone else at this party,they’ll like me if I take the pills they’re giving to me. Popping a few pills won’t matter, I’ll be perfectly normal tomorrow and no one will ever know”
Peer Pressure: You won’t be okay tomorrow though, this is starting your addiction. These “friends” aren’t going to care what happens to you after this party, they’re just worried about not getting caught themselves.
“I can hear the sirens behind me, should I pull over? I can’t get caught with these drugs in my car.”
Arrest: There’s no use running, they’re going to catch you anyway. They’ll find the drugs, you’ll be handcuffed and thrown into their car right then and there.
“I’m scared, I just want to go home. The room is spinning. I haven’t been high since they locked me up in here, I’m starting to feel sick. I just want out.”
Prison: You’ll sit in a cell and do nothing all day, it is a scary place. If you’re lucky you’ll get out soon.
“I’m finally out, I can do whatever I want, I’ve been waiting forever for this. My friends are having a party to celebrate…. I won’t get too high though… I promise.”
It’s 3 am, you can hear an ambulance in the distance, you’re laying on the pavement as the paramedics come running over to you. They put you on the stretcher and rush you to the hospital.
“I don’t want to die, please save me, I promise I learned my lesson this time. I love you, Mom and Dad, I’m so sorry”
Overdose: No amount of apologies or promises can change the outcome. It’s too late..
“Thank you for coming to my funeral, I didn’t think I actually had any real friends left. Don’t let this happen to you. It doesn’t have to be this way; it shouldn’t be this way.”
Funeral: You are the only one who has the power to control the outcome. Your parents are crying because they lost their child and they blame themselves. They shouldn’t though, you are in control of your own actions. Make the right decisions.
The reality tour leaves a lasting affect on both the teenagers and their parents.
“The Reality Tour gave me knowledge that I can still use today. All of the really dramatic scenes, intructions, and testimonials helped to educate both my mother and I on the drug free message. It was definitely a life-changing experience,” said Megan Sensue, a Junior who attended the Reality Tour as a third grader.
The reality tour used to only be offered at the Courthouse, but now tours are offered at the Latrobe Municipal Building as well.