Adams Tour Creates Awareness For Teen Opioid Addiction


Dirty clothes, a lacrosse racket, bottles of water, and an XBox controller are all normal things parents might expect to find in their teens’ bedrooms, but Brooklyn’s parents should know that within these everyday objects their kids could be hiding a serious addiction to opioids or other narcotics. 

At an educational trailer set up outside of the Brooklyn Borough Hall, Borough President Eric Adams (D) yesterday toured alongside the community to learn what some of these signs are and how to detect them early. 

The interactive trailer,  which the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) CARES and Code 3 designed to look like a male highschooler’s bedroom, told a dark story through it’s scattered items. Old shoes, empty cans, and water bottles could all be rigged with ease to conceal secrets and help hide an addiction. 

This photo is of the sink in the trailer, it has ashy finger marks on it, a sign of addiction they talked about in the tour. Photo by Owen Maldonado.

Many people on the tour quickly became surprised at how easy it could be for a parent to not recognize anything is wrong. One woman on the tour exclaimed with dismay, “You can make those! I’ve seen them on Pinterest.” Others remarked how they themselves had made similar devices to conceal drug use and hide objects. 

Dean Welch, a retired a Washington D.C. police officer and the tour guide for RALI CARES and Code 3, encourages, empowers, and educates parents on how to see the warnings early, and how to check in with their kids if they seem different or are acting out of character. 

Welch says many addictions begin with injuries, but that there are many paths to addiction for teens. “They might get prescribed percocet or oxycontin, but when their prescription runs out, they’ve got to get it from somewhere else.” 

In a sea of miscellaneous items and trash where it can be hard to know exactly what to look out for, Welch talks about changes that parents can spot in the way their kids are acting. Constant fatigue, a drop in performance at school, or a sudden loss of interest in hobbies could all be telling. “As a parent seeing this, it can be hard to know what to do,” he says. 

“You might have even stepped on something and not known. That blew my mind,” said Stephen Mosely, a resident of Bed-Stuy and parent. “I have nieces and nephews, too, so I can share this information. I believe they’re doing a good job here.”

Adams said he wants parents to know that while it may be difficult or scary to recognize some of these signs, knowing what to look for can save countless lives. “The more proactive you are, the greater opportunity you have to save your child and your family,” he said. 

Adams’ advice to parents who might be afraid of going through their teen’s things and potentially crossing a boundary is simple: “That fear can be put on the backburner. If it feels wrong, it is wrong, and parents must go with their gut feeling. This RV helps them to take their gut feeling with knowledge to help them solve the problem.”