On what first glance appeared to be an average teenager’s bedroom set up in the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office Thursday, a closer look revealed what would be any parent’s worst nightmare.
70 signs of drug abuse were littered throughout the display; some obvious, some innocuous. The goal is not to scare, but to educate, which is why the VCPO invited Addiction is Real, or AIR, to show the “Hidden in Plain Sight” exhibit.
“Obviously we’ve had an opioid problem in our community, which has moved into a heroin problem, and we’re seeing these people overdose, we’re seeing people become addicted,” said Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “And you have started to see, you know, younger children, you know, particularly middle school, and high school, getting involved in these types of drugs.”
Many of those who help with AIR do so because they wish someone had shown them the signs that are sometimes hard to see.
“You just don’t think that little baby of yours grew up to be this sneaky and will lie, and the one thing my son told me was, you know, I’m an addict mom, I lie,” Pam Greenberg said.
Her son Justin Greenberg was a straight A student, and an athlete. In college, Justin fell into drug abuse. Much of “Hidden in Plain Sight” display was based off his room.
“My son unfortunately, after being in rehab for a full year, a month after he was out of a rehab, he passed away. It just got a hold of him, and he couldn’t let go,” Greenberg said. “If I could stop this for one family, one mother, that’s why I do this.”
Whether it’s the salt used to separate the alcohol in hand sanitizer, the dryer sheet masking the smell of marijuana smoke, or the screw driver that helped hide heroin under the light switch, something seemingly innocent can be anything but.
According to AIR, that sentiment may not be something people, specifically parents, want to hear, but need to.