Could you find the contraband?

Stacey Hartley • Jul 13, 2019 at 6:00 PM

MONROEVILLE — In an activity called “Hidden in Plain Sight,” a teenager’s bedroom was recreated, down to the tell-tale piles of laundry and seemingly randomly decorated shelves and nightstands. Brought in two at a time (and only people age 21 or older) groups of participants got to leaf through the room and catalogue what contraband they found.

Steady streams of “I had no idea” and “I didn’t even think it was possible to hide this stuff” could be heard throughout the Monroeville Athletic Complex lobby, as community members learned how a disorganized teen’s bedroom could provide an almost natural camouflage, making it easier for parents to overlook drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The heart-breaking story of Joey Silcox’s fentanyl overdose death was told Monday in Monroeville.

Featuring a presentation by Lavin and Tom Schwan, Silcox’s mother and step-father, the event included a hands-on activity. Also present were volunteers from The Cottage sober-living house in Tiffin.

Lavin started to tell the story of Joey, who died at 25. By 13, Joey had begun smoking cigarettes. Within a few years, the teenager was exposed to and became dependent on addictive substances.

Of the searchers, one in particular went through the items in the “bedroom” with almost a surgical precision.

When asked how her discerning eyes were trained, “searcher” Crystal Scheid explained she came from a family that struggles with substance abuse and addiction. After a sibling was found “gasping and turning blue” following an accidental overdose, Scheid said EMT’s had to administer four doses of Narcan.

Despite her sibling’s combative behavior during the incident, Scheid said “You just want to find out what they took so you can help.” 

Other participants in “Hidden in Plain Sight” were volunteers from the The Cottage sober-living house in Tiffin.

“We try to help as much as possible,” said Jon Hollon, a Cottage resident and recovering addict.

“There really is a group of good guys (living at The Cottage) who support each other and go to as many meetings as possible,” Hollon said, “which is why we were excited to come and help out here.”

The 39-year-old said he was more than willing to help when he and some of his housemates were told about the event.

“I think it’s pretty important that parents come check this (event) out ... you know kids are dying everyday —  adults too.”

“Everyone can learn from this, even I learned some things from watching this (that) I didn’t know before,” he added.

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