Reality Tour-United Way

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Reality Tour–Dramatic journey with a teen ‘prescription drug addict’ from arrest to overdose and funeral!

Billings, MT, September 20, 2011   United Way of Yellowstone County’s Roots of Promise will present their first Reality Tour at Lockwood Middle School Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 6 p.m. The Reality Tour Drug Prevention program was created by Norma Norris of Butler, Pa. in 2003, and is now promoted through the non-profit organization CANDLE, Inc.

This is the first time a Reality Tour is being held in Montana. The tour is recommended for children age 10 and up with no child admitted without a parent/guardian.

Participants will follow the fate of a fictitious teen addicted to prescription drugs. The tour includes an arrest and prison experience as well as dramatic emergency room overdose scene and funeral scene. A narrative by the addict precedes each scene and includes the constant reminder to the audience that, “I’m just like you.”

Each attendee will be given a drug abuse profile to adopt during the program allowing participants to become familiar with different addictive drugs as well as gateway drugs. At times, attendees share their “story” of addiction in small group settings. Participants will have an opportunity to talk with an addict in recovery at the end of the program. Attendees can commit to a drug-free life by tracing their handprint on the Reality Tour Banner.

The Reality Tour was developed as a response to the rising drug use among teens who mistakenly think they won’t become addicted.

“Middle School is a critical time to experience a strong drug prevention message. On average, kids who use alcohol and drugs say they began experimenting between the ages of 12 and 15, depending on the substance. This tells us that if we want to reach families or youth before there is a problem, we need to reach them at in the middle school years,” said Kristi Drake, Drug Free Communities Coordinator for the project at United Way of Yellowstone County.

Many community volunteers and organizations are helping to produce the event, including the Lockwood Fire Department, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, Venture Theater, Youth Dynamics, Montana State Elks Association, Inc., the Billings Jaycees, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County, Montana Crime Prevention Association and RiverStone Health.

“What we would really like to see is the Reality Tour spread to neighboring communities and schools interested in a strong drug prevention message.” according to Drake.

To register, go to or Seating is limited to 100 participants. An overflow crowd may be invited for another performance in 2012.

For more information contact:
Gayle Whittenberg at 252-3839, ext 32 or on her cell phone at 406-698-9623.

About Roots of Promise and United Way of Yellowstone County – Roots of Promise is an alliance for children and families with the mission and goal of connecting individuals and agencies to ensure that all children in Yellowstone County have caring adults, a healthy start, safe places, an effective education, and the opportunity to serve. The goal of the alliance is to prevent youth substance abuse and other risky behavior. United Way of Yellowstone County’s mission is to mobilize the caring power of Yellowstone County in order to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the county. The organization is the primary community-building organization. We provide leadership to effectively mobilize people, financial and strategic resources to improve people’s lives. We identify and address priority needs and provide solutions that achieve measurable results and sustained community change.

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