NATICK — Chief James G. Hicks announces that the Natick Police Department has partnered with Natick Together for Youth to host a community initiative to help parents recognize signs of substance use in children and teenagers.
Titled, Hidden in Plain Sight: A special exhibit to help parents spot the signs of youth substance use, the initiative kicks off next week and runs throughout May.
“This is a great opportunity for parents to come out and speak with trained professionals on how to recognize the signs and symptoms that indicate at-risk behavior in their children,” Chief Hicks said. “We’re happy to support Natick Together for Youth and encourage community members to stop by the exhibit.”
Hidden In Plain Sight is designed to help parents spot signs of at-risk behaviors using an interactive display of a teenager’s bedroom. Specially trained “tour guides” from MetroWest community coalitions will walk participants through the exhibition, providing education about adolescent development and common signs of substance use.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that there was an estimated 1,173 opioid related deaths in 2014 and an estimated 1,104 opioid related deaths between January and September 2015.
“In Massachusetts and throughout our country, too many heartbroken parents have lost a child to the opioid epidemic,” said Katherine Clark, U.S. Representative for the Fifth District of Massachusetts. “The Hidden in Plain Sight Exhibit is helping us combat this deadly epidemic by providing information and support to families throughout our community.”
To curb substance abuse and prevent the loss of a loved one, the exhibit encourages parents to communicate with their children about at-risk behavior that could lead to opioid addiction and other substance use disorders, as a strong parent-teen relationship is the most effective tool to prevent this from occurring.
The initiative is sponsored by South Shore Hospital’s Youth Health Connection, BlumShapiro, The Natick Mall, a General Growth Property, Natick Together for Youth, the Town of Natick, SOAR (Supporting Our Addicts Recovery) Natick, Ashland’s Decisions at Every Turn Coalition, the Framingham Health Department, the Holliston Drug & Alcohol Awareness Coalition, Hopkinton Organizing for Prevention, Medfield Cares About Prevention, SAFE/JAG Coalition, Wayland Cares, the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance and the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.
The Natick Mall, 1245 Worcester St., on the first floor of the mall, near Sears (next to GameStop and across from CVS).
Hidden in Plain Sight is open to the public from May 9-26.
• Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 5-9 p.m.
• Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10 a.m to 2 p.m.
• Saturdays and Sundays: 12-4 p.m.
A kick-off event will occur Tuesday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Speakers at the kickoff event include:
• Senator Karen Spilka, Second Middlesex and Norfolk District
• State Rep. Hannah Kane, 11th Worcester District
• State Rep. David Paul Linsky, Fifth Middlesex District
• Chief James Hicks, Natick Police Department
• Marian Ryan, Middlesex District Attorney
• Kim Noble, RN, MBA, South Shore Hospital’s Youth Health Connection Program Coordinator
Hidden in Plain Sight is open to all members of the public over the age of 21.