Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Drug House Odyssey shows dangers of alcohol abuse

October 18, 2000

For the third consecutive year, Leavenworth County organizations are working together to present a Drug House Odyssey.

Slated for 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 22, 25 and 29, the free event will be held at the Wallula Christian Church, 2.5 miles south of Lansing at 23785 139th St.

Debbie Pearson, an organizer of the event, said the purpose of the Drug House Odyssey is to raise awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Its a dramatic presentation, done on the basis of something like a haunted house, where you take tour groups through and they go to different areas to see different things, she said.

It takes a cast of about 100 to carry out the event each evening. Cast members include actual firefighters, emergency medical personnel, medical personnel, two Leavenworth County judges, air ambulance crews and an inmate of Lansing Correctional Facility, to mention a few.

The first scene in the parking lot is a van wreck, Pearson said. We re-create an accident where the van has been run off the road by a drunken driver. The ambulance responds and paramedics take off with the victim.

The second area is a dark alley that depicts the possible repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse.

It shows people what can happen to them, Pearson said. There are prostitutes trying to raise money to support their habits, drug dealers trying to get children to buy drugs and a homeless family who ended up there because of the husbands drinking.

Another area is where another theatrical presentation begins. The star of this part is Ty, a teen-ager who has just wrecked his car after drinking. His friends take him to his parents and his father says its not so bad for kids to drink alcohol. His parents argue about it.

In the next scene, Ty appears with his girlfriend, Erica, who when she realizes teens are using drugs and alcohol, tries to take Tys car keys and leave. But he insists on driving her home.

On the way there, he crashes into another car, killing the driver of the other car. Erica is unconscious and bleeding. Ty is uninjured drunk and belligerent.

The Lansing Police Depart-ment officers arrest Ty. This is an interesting scene, she said.

You never know what will happen in this scene X we give them freedom to do what they want.

Meanwhile, the fire department does the extrication to remove Erica from the car.

The paramedics and air ambulance are there, Pearson said. They carry her toward the helicopter.

Next, is the emergency room scene. Actual staff members of St. John Hospital work to save Ericas life and despite their efforts, she dies.

The next scene takes visitors to a morgue where the husband of the driver of the other car comes to the morgue to identify her. And then the Military Police ring the doorbell of Ericas parents in the middle of the night to tell them her daughter has died.

Judge Robert Bedner, the juvenile court judge for Leavenworth County, hears the case in court. This year, for the first time, there will be a defense attorney and a prosecuting attorney speaking in the courtroom scene. Ty is sentenced to prison for vehicular manslaughter.

Visitors next see a funeral scene, complete with a casket, flowers and a short funeral message.

And then the real message comes from the LCF inmate.

Hes one, who will talk about how he is actually in prison for essentially the exact same scenario we have presented with Ty, Pearson said.

Visitors should plan on spending about an hour at the Drug House Odyssey. Tour groups start every 10 minutes. Attendance each year seems to grow, Pearson said, noting that two years ago, about 1,200 attended, and in 1999, about 1,500 attended.

We expect to have a lot more people this year, Pearson said. We have groups coming from 50 miles away by busload.

Because some of the scenes are graphic, Pearson said children 12 years old and younger should be accompanied by an adult.

The idea isnt to scare anybody or give nightmares, she said. But to tell them this is what can really happen to someone if youre out doing these things.

The event works, Pearson said, because of community support.

Everybody in the community comes out, she said. They want to be involved, they want to help.

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