The latest video in a series featuring local students highlighting the risks of substance abuse features a Toms River native who is one of the stars of the hit NBC crime drama “Chicago PD.”
Brian Geraghty introduces the video, which is aimed at parents and stars students from the county’s Performing Arts Academy high school in Lakehurst.
“I’m grateful that Brian Geraghty and other celebrities with roots in Ocean County are stepping up to join our efforts,” Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said in a statement Wednesday, as the video was premiered on YouTube. “This video series is the perfect vehicle to capture teen’s attention, raise awareness, educate and hopefully prevent the tragedy of future addictions.”
The newly-released edition in the series, titled “Note to Parents,” focuses on a teenage boy who ultimately loses his life to substance abuse and a teenage girl who gets caught up in the web of substance abuse, tragically while their parents miss all the warning signs.
The film begins with a school teacher who is writing notes to the respective parents of the teens, highlighting changes in their behaviors, personalities, and school work, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. The film takes the viewer on the unfortunate journey of drug addiction and illustrates the consequences associated with the terrible decision to be a part of that world.
“The goal of the film is to give parents the tools to be able to prevent substance abuse from happening in their children’s lives,” Della Fave said. “It also serves as a resource, citing steps parents can take towards early intervention and paths to resolving addiction should they suspect that their son or daughter has issues with substance abuse.”
“Note to Parents” was produced by E-Video Productions, LLC of Toms River New Jersey. Toms River native and Chicago P.D. actor Brian Geraghty introduces the film at the onset, while describing the magnitude of the drug crisis in the county. The cast consists of students and teachers from the Performing Arts Academy in Lakehurst, which is part of the county’s vocational school system. Characters in the main cast include student Antonio Dasti (Mike), student Brianna Ellison (Sara), and Theatre Instructor Laura Grandi-Hill (Mrs.) Lucasen. Other students in featured roles are Stephanie Gulino, Bethany Harding, Joy Chanik, Rory Nilsen, Casey Conner, and Chase B. Theibault. Supporting cast and extras in the film were also students and parents from the Performing Arts Academy.
The Brick Township Police Department allowed filming in its jail cells, Della Fave said.
Geraghty is the third celebrity to star in one of the films, which are all funded through proceeds seized from drug dealers in Ocean County. Guitarist Richie Sambora and former Major League Baseball pitcher Al Leiter have appeared in past films.
Work on the fourth film in the series, titled “Just This One Time,” is already underway. That film will focus on how using substances in a social setting can lead to long-term abuse, Della Fave said.