Exhibit encourages parents to look for signs of drug abuse


HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The epidemic of drug abuse continues here in western Massachusetts, and for parents, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether their children are using. With that in mind, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni was at the Holyoke Mall Wednesday to unveil “Hidden in Plain Sight,” an exhibit that recreates a teen’s room, to show parents what to look for.

The exhibit caught the attention of passersby who read the material that District Attorney Gulluni had provided as part of his display. Gulluni said that items such as spoons in your children’s room or backpack could be an indication that they are using illegal drugs.

Kirk Jonah of West Springfield lost his son to a drug overdose last year. He told 22News that it is important for parents to be active, and search for any possible signs of drug abuse in their children.

“the backpack is what these young kids carry with them carrying to the house caerrying to their room, carrying to their car, you probably will find something in the backpack.” He said that it is important for parents to know what is going on, and not to be concerned about upsetting their children.

The message resonated with young parent Kristy Reillo of Holyoke. She recalled that as a teenager “All of my friends were trying to hide stuff from our parents that we knew weren’t correct and wouldn’t think our parents would notice.”

The exhibit was made possible by the West Springfield CARE Coalition and the Hampden County Addiction Task Force and will be on display at the Sears court of the Holyoke mall lower level through the rest of February.

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