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Free program in Kittanning helps adults spot teen drug use

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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 12:31 a.m.

Drug prevention starts at home, and local police want to teach parents and guardians how to spot signs that their teens may be using.

“Teen Scene” on Thursday aims to educate adults about the symptoms of drug use, trends in drug use and resources to help prevent drug use. The free program sponsored by Kittanning Borough Police Crime Watch and the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in First Church of God Social Hall, 629 Woodward Ave., Kittanning.

“It's not always easy to spot the signs, or hiding places, of drugs in the home,” said Kittanning Police Chief Bruce Mathews. “Intervention can't happen without knowing the signs and symptoms.”

According to the Pennsylvania Youth Survey, which last year questioned children about drug and alcohol use, about 70 percent of 10th-grade students in Armstrong County said they tried alcohol and 17 percent admitted to smoking marijuana. About 6 percent said they had tried prescription stimulants such as Adderall.

The educational program will focus on spotting signs of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug use, said Carrie Bence, deputy director of the drug and alcohol commission. It will teach participants up-to-date slang that teens might use to discuss drugs.

“We're not trying to scare people, but we want parents and guardians to be aware of what's out there and what they should be looking for in their own homes,” Bence said.

That could mean looking for drugs in hollowed-out pop cans or ink pens. The program will outline these and other places adults may never have thought to look for drugs.

“We have about 50 common household items modified to stash drugs,” Bence said. “A lot of people would be surprised by how many everyday items could be sitting around, holding drugs.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or

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