Annual "House of Horrors and Happiness" Brings Reality to Teens

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Rather than going to see a movie, kids from across the county came to see a dose of reality. News Channel Seven's Nicole Morten explains.

Friday night teenagers and kids from all over the county lined up to witness the House of Horrors and Happiness Reality Show at the Panama City Marine Institute.

Each year the Bay County Health Department and the Freedom 180 Abstinence Education Program team up to show teenagers the reality of life and death consequences of irresponsible activities and behaviors.

Several rooms were filled with actors, physically re-enacting dramatic, real-life scenes of challenges faced by teens, including: drugs, smoking, suicide, repercussions of sexual activity, and gangs. The rooms were completely dark, the only light throughout the room was a a black-light. Fluorescent-painted statistics adorned the hallways.

Statistics from the Bay County Health Department :

• 42% of Bay County parents approve of underage drinking
• 88% of parents and teens know of parents who host teen alcohol parties
• 63% of Bay County students believe drinking one or more drinks daily is NOT harmful
• 16% of Bay County Students report binge drinking last month

Signs of Alcohol Abuse :

• Missing bottles of alcohol
• Withdrawal from peers and others
• Excuses for late hours and missed curfew
• Irrational desire for parents to go out for the evening
• Sneaking alcohol or drugs
• Sudden or unexplained drop in grades

The re-enactments, the sounds of gunshots, screaming and crying seemed all too real. What really hit home was the car that sat in front of the Marine Institute.

It was once driven by Bay County teen, Logan Selby.

The night of June 6, 2005, Logan got off work and went to hang out with some buddies; after sharing a bottle of liquor, Logan made the decision to get behind the wheel and drive home.

He didn’t make it home that night.

His family became worried after not being able to reach him all night. Around 5:30 a.m. Logan’s family received a call from the Bay County Medical Center; Logan had been in a car accident..

The family rushed to the hospital, but Logan didn't make it...they watched Logan's ears turn purple as his life slowly faded away.

His alcohol level was twice the legal limit for a 21-year-old. Logan was only 17.

“He went from a 5’10, 162 pound young man, to a 1 foot tall, 13 pound box,” said Logan’s sister. “This could have been your brother, sister, or any family member or even you...please listen to a sister that knows…PLEASE! Don’t Drink and drive.”

In order to combat these life-changing decisions made by teens, the Panama City Marine Institute, holds this reality series in hopes to inform-- by showing people the reality of a bad decision.

“Especially in Bay County, since we're on the coast, you know our young people are exposed to so much these days and the culture is changing dramatically so were doing everything we can to combat that,” said Bryan Russell, Bay County Health Department. “Our goal is to remind these kids that it is ok to NOT do bad things and reinforcing the positive message of making correct choices by not drinking, or engaging in drugs, pre-marital sex, gangs, or violence.”

Each decision that you make will affect not only you, but the people around you, forever.

According to Florida Statute 856.015 :

“No person having control of any residence shall allow an open house party to take place at said residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at said residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at said residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possessions or consumption of alcoholic beverage or drugs.”

If convicted, Statute 856.015 results in a 2nd degree misdemeanor.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Elizabeth Location: Alabama on Oct 23, 2009 at 04:10 PM
    This alcohol abstinence program by your health department is a terrific idea. There needs to be one in every county. Sounds like you are really doing the right thing by not sugar coating it and getting to the teens and their parents.
  • by Cassie Location: Atlanta, GA on Jan 28, 2009 at 02:28 PM
    I have a troubled teen that needs a dose of reality. He's on probabation and has already been in re-hab. He's 16 and thinks he wants to quit school and live the life of "hard knocks". I wish there was a program out there that would show him how hard life can be, before he wrecks what is left of his young life.
  • by Beverly Timson Location: Bay County on Jan 25, 2009 at 05:41 AM
    I and my family knew Logan. I have 5 grandkids and I am totally Blessed that they have been going in the right path to know that drugs and drinking is not the right thing to do.The parents that allow there kids to drink at home is just setting them up for downfalls in the long run. Some parents need to look at what they do around thier kids because thats where they learn from.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 24, 2009 at 10:39 PM
    Great story. A growing issue and Something that needs to be adressed.
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