FANWOOD, NJ -- Parents from Fanwood and Scotch Plains got an education Wednesday night on the places and things where their kids could be hiding drugs. The "Hidden In Plain Sight" presentation by the Drug Enforcement Administration NJ Office has a simple message for parents: Don't think it can't happen to your kids.
The easy availability of prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin and other substances has contributed to rampant overdoses across New Jersey, including Union County. Fanwood police alone have administered the opioid antidote Narcan nine times in recent months, according to Chief Richard Trigo. Chief Ted Conley of Scotch Plains explained that recent opioid incidents in the township involved not just teenagers but also adults age 25-54.
Tim McMahon, Special Agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration NJ Division, brought all the furnishings of a child's bedroom with him at the Forest Road Park recreation building in Fanwood. He demonstrated how everyday items in a child's room, including a baseball cap, soda cans, clothing, wall outlets, stuffed animals, and even candy, can be used to hide drugs. He encouraged parents to be nosy, snoop around in their kids' rooms, check their phones and know their friends.
The DEA agent warned that kids who endure sports injuries and receive pain medications may wind up getting addicted to prescription drugs -- even if they had never taken drugs in their lives before getting injured.
"Americans consume 80 percent of all the prescription painkillers in the world," McMahon explained. "Every day, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time."
"Many teens mistakenly believe that prescription drugs are 'safer than street drugs' because they are medicines prescribed by doctors," McMahon added. "They don't have to travel to Newark or Patterson or Camden to get them... they're in medicine cabinets at home."
The audience included SPFK12 Schools Superintendent Margaret Hayes, police chiefs Connelly and Trigo, Fanwood lieutenants Eugene Chin and Marrero, Scotch Plains Captain Paul Belford and Detective Shawn Johnson
The event was co-sponsored by the Fanwood and Scotch Plains Police Departments, DEA, SPF PTA and the Municipal Alliance Committee.