The community can catch the second night of Reality Tour on Monday, March 11

ATASCADERO — For over a decade, LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero has been collaborating with Reality Tour, created by Candle, Inc., to bring interactive drug awareness and prevention measures to local teens and their parents with the help of local educators and law enforcement.

Atascadero News attended the first night of Reality Tour on Monday, Feb. 26, and participated in the educational night. Approximately 60 community members and their kids came out to the Pavilion on the Lake to learn how drugs are impacting Atascadero and the people living here.

“I think it’s a really good program to really show the youth of our community what really happens with the drugs and the consequences. They really focus on that,” said parent Janel Eisner of Reality Tour.


Every participant was a part of three workshops during the tour. Atascadero Police Det. Rodriguez gave a presentation on all drug-related substances, from marijuana to cocaine, and focused largely on fentanyl, which is one of the area’s most significant drug problems currently. He also told the audience how the drugs are being sold to the youth of Atascadero mainly through phone apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp, though all forms of social media can be used.

Local mother Melanie Graham said that she was grateful to learn more about the local drug scene and how drugs are getting into local teens’ hands to better prepare her own kids for what to look out for.

“I didn’t go to school here, so I don’t know all those nooks and crannies and stuff, so that was really helpful,” added Graham. 

“It’s crazy what drugs can actually do,” continued Isabella Graham, Melanie’s daughter. “Being aware of people who actually are doing the drugs.”

Eisner also said that she was surprised at how prevalent drugs are in Atascadero.

Another workshop was led by Dr. Libby Manning, the principal of Paloma Creek High School. Her main focus was giving parents tools on how to have challenging discussions with their kids about drugs and drug use. She covered everything from why people want to alter their consciousness to how to ingrain tools that youth in the area can use to get themselves out of sticky situations, including finding their flow through mastery, autonomy, and purpose.

“I learned different questions to ask my daughter. I also have a younger daughter, so I’ll start practicing even with her being younger,” stated Graham. “Definitely knowing how to talk to your kids early on, and they gave us the verbiage to use. That was extremely helpful.”

The third workshop was an interactive feature that takes participants through a storyline of a drug user turned dealer. The story uses actors from Atascadero High School, local law enforcement, and local emergency responders to show just how fast one life choice can impact a whole community of people.

“The walk-through of the reality of what something you do can lead to more stuff. Like doing one thing can lead to so many other things that gets you stuck in stuff that most times you can’t get out of,” said Holland Eisner, Janel’s daughter. “I’ve always had talks about drugs, like to say no to drugs, but this just taught me more about what I’m really saying no to.”

The LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero Reality Tour will run for a second date on Monday, March 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pavillion on the Lake in Atascadero. To register or find out more about LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero, go to


Photo 1: (From left) Rolfe Nelson, Ron Johansen, APD Officer Perkins, APD Det. Rodriguez, Dr. Libby Madding, Joe Allen, Lori Bagby, AFD Paramedic Gentilly and APD Sgt. Taylor were just a handful of the people who helped put LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero Reality Tour together. Photo by Christianna Marks/ATN