GRIDLEY — “The scariest things, sometimes, are real,” Mike Dahl told a group of people at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley.

That was the message, and warning, put forth Monday and Tuesday nights at the Haunted Crack House, when visitors were led through scenarios that depicted the realities of drug and alcohol use.

Dahl and other members of the Gridley Lion’s Club helped guide people through a maze-like series of rooms, each adding to the message.

Beginning with the “arrest” of four teenagers — complete with two police cars arriving with sirens screaming and flashing lights — the event stressed the effects of drug abuse on teenagers, families and communities.

The cast included students, community members and police, firemen, paramedics and a doctor, and was organized by Gridley High School’s leadership class, Gridleyians United Against Rising Drug Use Is A Necessity — or GUARDIANS — and the Friday Night Live Club.

Gridley High activities director Brenda Thomas said two shifts of students were acting parts because so many wanted to participate.

On Monday, about 200 people came through the tour, she estimated.

Tuesday, a line of people waited for their turns and Dahl coached each group, warning them that some parts might be too intense for small children.

A courtroom scene followed the arrest scene, with a judge acted by Gridley Police Chief Gary Keeler.

He sentenced two teenagers for possession of cocaine.

When he gave a probation sentence to one teen, he warned her that a second offense could mean three years with the California Youth Authority.

The visitors moved through scenes of dysfunctional families failing to communicate honestly, a wall of bizarre deadly-white live faces, and a strobe-lighted party scene that ended with a girl vomiting and passing out.

In the next room, emergency medical personnel worked to revive a non-responsive 16-year-old boy.

Gridley physician Albert Nielsen directed his crew through the motions of trying to save the teenager’s life, then declared him dead.

In a funeral scene, a male voice talked about missing the rest of his life and at a graveyard, two girls told their stories from behind cemetery stones showing their names and the years of their 18-year life spans.

One explained that she didn’t use drugs herself, but she got into a car with a driver who had been drinking.

When the visitors were guided into one room, Vernon Hartman stood in striped prison garb behind bars singing “Home on the Range.”

He mused sadly about not being able to see the sky, stars or birds. Then he told the group about how he sold drugs to kids who overdosed on them.

“I didn’t make the stuff,” he yelled. “I was just selling it.”

Hartman, who works for the Butte County Housing Authority in real life, portrayed the convict with a convincing mixture of regret and anger.

He coaxed a boy closer to his cell and grabbed him by the shirt to ask him if he’d seen the sky. Then he asked about the boy’s hometown, hamburgers and his mother.

“When you’re in here, people tend to forget you,” he said. “You’re an embarrassment.”

And he warned the boy to stay off drugs.