Teen theater group to dramatize youth prescription drug abuse

Norwich – The growing trend of youths using and abusing prescription drugs will be played out on the Slater Auditorium stage Wednesday as “The Looking In Theater Group” presents skits depicting dramatic scenes showcasing the issue, followed by a discussion with the audience.

The free event, “Outside Looking In: What you need to know about the opiate epidemic,” will be held in the Slater Auditorium at Norwich Free Academy, beginning with registration and a dinner of finger foods and dessert at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Looking In Theater Group performances at 6 p.m. The program is sponsored by Norwich Youth and Family Services and the Norwich Prevention Council.

High school students and their families are encouraged to attend this event, and a limited supply of prescription drug lock boxes will be provided to families.

The Looking In Theater group has teenage performers from the greater Hartford area. The group will present dramatic scenes that mimic the reality of the growing use of prescription drugs by youth.

Angelo Callis, coordinator for Norwich Youth and Family Services, said the event is designed to raise awareness about the misuse of prescription drugs among young people. The results of a 2015 survey of Norwich high school students showed for the first time that prescription drug use among teens had surpassed marijuana and alcohol use.

“Often times, youth and parents are being prescribed medications for sports related injuries, or routine surgeries without an awareness of the potential consequences associated with their use,” Callis said in a press release. “When people become dependent on the medication or begin to experience physical withdrawals, the line between use and misuse is crossed and often, people begin finding alternative means for obtaining the medication on the street or begin using heroin.”

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