Dartmouth's anti-drug education group says they're making great strides in their efforts against drug abuse in the area.

At Monday night's Dartmouth Select Board meeting, members of Community Offering Prevention and Education, or COPE, discussed their work so far since their creation. Among COPE's initiatives include prescription drug drop-off bins at the Dartmouth Police Station, where people can take unused pills and other narcotics to have them properly discarded.

Det. Kyle Costa, a member of COPE, said the collaboration between the Dartmouth Police Department and COPE has been a huge success with the amount of prescription drugs turned in.

"I wasn't expecting what we've taken in so far. To date, we've averaged about 12 lbs per month. Now, when you break that down to a bottle of pills, that's a lot of narcotics," Det. Costa said.

The prescription take-back bins have now eclipsed 150 lbs of discarded drugs.

Dartmouth Youth Advocate Jen Cabral has also played a major role in educating parents and students on substance abuse. She described a recent mock bedroom set-up at the Dartmouth Mall to illustrate where youth typically hide drugs and alcohol.

Cabral says the idea behind the "Hidden In Plain Sight" program is to identify the signs of drug and alcohol use in students.

"Basically, we'll be educating parents around what to look for and how to look for it to determine whether or not your kid is using substances, as well being able to offer resources, that if that's the case, where to parents go and turn to in order to get the support that they need," Cabral said.

Other "Hidden In Plain Sight" displays will be at Bishop Stang High School on Tuesday, and at the Dartmouth Resource Fair on Sunday.

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