Upcoming Hidden in Plain Sight at Kearny High is a must see for local adults

Could you identify potential spots where drugs were hidden in plain sight? Google Images

It could be in an Altoids can. It could be inside a sock. It could be in a Pepsi can with a false bottom. In fact, users are getting more and more creative by the day, or so it seems, in ways young people conceal their drugs in plain sight, in so much as to ensure mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brothers, sisters no one nearby, really can detect whats being hidden.

It could be anything illegal, really, being hidden, from marijuana, to pills, to powders. It could be something ordinary to something that if ingested in so much as the equivalent of a few grains of salt, it could kill not just the possessor, but anyone around them.

And folks, its happening. Its everywhere. And its a major problem. One needs only to read this newspaper or watch TV to know so. But if there is one thing that is certain, it is the Kearny Prevention Coalition is doing everything it can to ensure residents of Kearny from young to not so young are aware of the dangers of substance abuse.

One way theyre combatting the issues they being Jennifer Collins and retired Kearny Police Department Deputy Chief Jack Corbett Sr. comes to Kearny High School at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 3, at the auditorium.

Its called the Hidden in Plain Sight program perhaps youve even heard of it since its been offered here and nearby before a presentation offered to parents of young people by the Drug Enforcement Administrator and, more particularly, DEA Supervisory Special Agent Timothy P. McMahon, who is based in New York City.

So what is Hidden in Plain Sight? Well, aside from being something parents should see, its something any adult who has a connection to young people should see. Corbett and Collins say in the program, McMahon will guide attendees through an exhibit and explain substance use trends, signs and symptoms in an effort to provide resources for parents and community members to help keep children healthy and drug-free.

Think about if for a moment. If you found out a young person you loved somehow developed a substance-abuse issue, would you know what to do? Where to turn? Where resources may be found? The beauty of a program such as this is all those potential questions questions can and will be answered in a short period of time.

No one has to be alone. There is absolutely no stigma attached to the program. And sadly, someone reading this story right now may very well know someone young who is suffering from substance abuse in utter silence, and right before your very eyes.

Corbett and Collins sat down with The Observer in anticipation of Hidden in Plain Sight. What we learned was nothing short of extraordinary, so much so that while were not begging adults to attend the event next week, we couldnt be more serious about how important is to show up, to listen, and to be forearmed for what might possible one day become reality.

Drugs can be hidden inside pens, in false bottom of soda cans, Corbett said. It is sometimes right there.

Corbett and Collins both say it is a challenge to get folks to show up for any event. So to help make that a bit easier, theyve hired an ice cream truck to come for afterward and there will be numerous resources available outside the Kearny HS auditorium for afterward.

Recreationally, nothing else in on the schedule for that day so there will be no games or practices that day, from baseball to tee ball to soccer, anything town-run. Kearnys Recreation Director Ralph Cattafi made sure of that by not scheduling anything for that night, so a maximum number of adults may attend.

We really wanted to be able to focus on this one day, to drive home its seriousness, Collins said. It is so important for everyone to be educated.

The Kearny Prevention Coalition, combined with the Teen Prevention Coalition, all have different missions, though theyre all connected to substance abuse. While the Prevention Coalition is mostly geared toward prevention of marijuana use, tobacco smoking and vaping, it is likely attendees may hear more than just about the aforementioned.

But the overall goal remains the same sending a message to the young and not so young that substance abuse exists, it is a disease and there are scores of people, Collins and Corbett in particular, who have dedicated their lives to making sure people know help is out there, as dire as it might seem, there is hope and there is absolutely no longer a stigma attached to addiction, as hard as that may be for some to fathom.

Its much more about making good choices, Collins said. A young persons brain is still developing, so while marijuana may be legal for adults, its not an acceptable choice for teenagers.

And it can be even worse with vapes. Yes, some are indeed sold legally. But those arent the ones of greater concern its the vape pens being sold on the street that could easily be laced with something as deadly as fentanyl, among other substances.

Some of the newer drugs arent even NARCAN resistant and are many times more potent, Collins said.

In the coming weeks, well also be highlighting more about the Teenage Coalition, a cross-section of kids from grades 7 to 12.

But for now, its all about Hidden.

If we can help to save one person, its a victory, Collins said, Corbett echoing her sentiments.

And it all starts by showing up at Kearny HS the first Wednesday of May.

Learn more about the writer ...

Editor & Broadcaster at 

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.