Second date of Reality Tour® takes place on Monday, March 11

The sixth annual LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero 5K Fun Run & Family Day is coming up June and a sixth annual is one of those that can get a little lost in the weeds. It something that has gone on for six years. That is great. I mean really great — when you think about why it started and what it is working to achieve.

Back in 2012, some key players in Atascadero had lost enough. Drug addiction and overdose had torn families apart and left wreckage that is still healing. The voices cried out that there might be an end to the pain for others — that there may be a solution to our local problem of addiction that could help prevent the losses felt by some from happening to others.

A more challenging process can be summed up as the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, formed to support high school athletics programs and facilities, took the lead in forming the LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero committee.

The benefit 5K was created to fundraise for a dedicated high school counselor to address student addiction issues as they attempt to finish high school — as if there wasn’t already enough pressure.

Members of the LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero have suffered loss of their own, and have a personal story to tell about why they sacrifice part of their lives to raise money for the student counseling services provided to the students of Paloma Creek Continuation High School.

The 5K and fun runs at Pomar Junction on Saturday, June 1 are a great way for the community to get involved in a valuable resource for the future of our society. As supporters of the awareness, prevention, intervention and education of drug abuse and addiction, we know how hard it is to measure success. So much of what we do comes from a deep faith that people are good and that helping others is a way to make a difference in the world, locally and beyond.

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There is no telling what a little kindness can become, or what can grow of the seeds of hope that might be sown in the hearts of those struggling.

There is an ugly side to addiction that we might feel more familiar with, and fear. It is unusual for a healthy family to become intimately familiar with the nuances of drug use as drugs continue to change, and usage and transport of drugs becomes more difficult to detect.

Reality Tour® is a nationally syndicated program that the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation produces annually. In fact, it has become so popular that two dates have been arranged to provide the experience to more than 100 people.

With the help of Atascadero police, fire and emergency services, Reality Tour® takes attendees through a realistic and somewhat graphic presentation of the cycle of drug addiction — arrest, jail, overdose and funeral. The tour also provides information directly from local police about what drugs are being used currently and how those drugs appear, are used, and are transported.

With online access to social networks and YouTube videos, it is amazing how fast a deadly cocktail of narcotics can be shared among children while parents are largely unaware that any danger actually occurred. Reality Tour® educates and supports parents and kids with information and help them have open conversations about drugs and addiction.

For more information or to register for the 5K benefit fun runs or Reality Tour®, go to lighthouseatascadero.org.

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