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DSCYF bringing drug prevention program for youth statewide

Youth tracing hand as drugfree promise Candle Inc..JPG
The Delaware Department of Services for Children Youth and Their Families
Youth tracing hands as drugfree promise.

The Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families is bringing an award-winning, reality-based, interactive drug prevention program to the First State.

It shows adolescents between 10 and 17 the effects of experimenting with drugs.

The Reality Tour comes from the nonprofit, CANDLE, Inc. It launched in 2003, and thanks to a Substance Abuse Block Grant, the program will be offered in Delaware statewide for the first time.

It debuts in Delaware March 15, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth. Shows are also scheduled at The Cause and Bellevue Center on March 23 and the Bear-Glasgow YMCA on March 25. An event at the Milford Boys and Girls Club is also planned.

Director of Prevention Services for the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Shelly Lazorchak says youth are required to come with a caregiver or trusted adult.

“Someone who will be able to continue the conversation," she says. "The big purpose of this program is to facilitate conversations that people are uncomfortable having. So this is a first step in opening the door to these conversations so parents and their kids or caregivers and their kids can talk about this.”

Lazorchak says there is a party scene with an overdose, an arrest scene, and a funeral.

“So the narration is from the perspective of the individual who is using the drugs," Lazorchak says. "And it talks about the choices that they make and why they’re making them and some of the thoughts that are going through their head as the scenes are playing out.”

And Family Services Program Analyst Christine Downing says it’s youth driven.

“Statistics show that when a youth hears it from a fellow youth, that they are more receptive," Downing says.

Lazorchak says overdoses in kids ages 10-19 grew 109% from 2019-2021 nationwide. She adds fentanyl is becoming ever present in drugs, leading to further fatalities, especially in first-time users.

Delaware is third in the nation for highest overdose deaths per capita.

Programs are free to participants, but registration is required at

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.