CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Healthy Communities of Clinton County is an outreach team that’s taking learning to a new level.
The organization partnered with IU Health to create the "Not in my Room" Trailer. It's a specialized trailer that can be transformed to look like a bedroom or classroom, it's designed to teach parents and teachers new ways kids and teens could be hiding illegal substances.
“We wanted to do this trailer to show parents and teachers the devices and ways that children hide vaping and other signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder,” said Lorra Archibald, executive director of Healthy Communities of Clinton County.
Inside the room are dozens of items that can be purchased online and in novelty stores. Archibald asked us not to disclose what the items are exactly but we can tell you the objects have hidden compartments and other disguising features -- and it looks like everyday items such as hygiene products, clothing, and school supplies.
“It's like an adult scavenger hunt and we have them go in and look around and see the items that they automatically recognize as suspicious,” said Archibald.
Archibald said the parents and teachers who take a tour of the trailer usually discover four of five items. It's when she reveals the other 30 that tends to shock them.
“We know how important the role parents and teachers play and they need to know what these signs and symptoms are and be looking for those signs and symptoms so they can initiate the conversation with their children,” said Archibald.
IU Health reached out to Healthy Communities after a recent study on health needs in communities located in and around Tippecanoe County.
“IU Health identified substance use including tobacco as one of our priority health needs that we need to address,” said Melissa Dexter, IU Health community outreach program manager.
Indiana's second vaping death happened here in Tippecanoe County in late 2019. Dexter said these kinds of initiatives are more important now than ever.
“Indiana teens are actually more likely to use vaping products than smoke cigarettes so what we're looking for has really changed. The "Not in my Room" Trailer just provides a way for adults to get an understanding of what kids are facing today,” said Dexter.
This trailer has traveled all over the county and they're looking to bring it to a school or event near you. The trailer is free and you can schedule a tour by calling 765-659-6063 or emailing Kathy Martin, the “Not in my Trailer” director of operations at firstname.lastname@example.org. You must be ages 18 or up to participate in the tour.