A community in Indiana is making use of a new and innovative approach to helping parents identify drug use and hiding places in their homes. The Beech Grove City Hall recently hosted an interactive tour to show parents where their teens could be hiding drugs. The tour takes place in a trailer set up to resemble a teenager’s bedroom. Tour guides point out hiding places and warning signs illustrating how easy it is for teenagers to hide drugs in their homes, sometimes in plain sight. The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative created the trailer with help from law enforcement offers.

Teen substance abuse is a serious public health problem. It also puts the teen at risk for a lifetime of substance abuse and other health concerns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen substance abuse can negatively impact brain development and promote dangerous behaviors. Future health problems like heart issues, blood pressure and sleep disorders have all been linked to adolescent drug use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends substance abuse screening for all adolescents, beginning as early as nine years old.  

Unfortunately, a large amount of teen drug use can go unnoticed since teens often exhibit moody, unpredictable and even erratic behavior with or without using substances. Additionally, the teenage desire for privacy that often accompanies this developmental stage can make it harder for adult caregivers to monitor for drug use.

Initiatives like the traveling trailer and other bedroom or “hidden in plain sight” drug tours are becoming more available. The goal is to give parents practical tips and better insight into how to identify and find the signs of potential drug use.

Where Do Kids Hide Drugs?

Parents want to know: where do kids hide drugs? The traveling tours give real-world illustrations of where parents should look to find hidden drugs or signs of drug use. Some common hiding places include:

  • Medicine containers
  • Deodorant tubes
  • Shaving cream cans 
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Soda cans or bottles 
  • Hairbrushes
  • Battery compartments

False versions of these items, like a container designed to look like a shaving cream can are widely available and can be hard to spot because they look like a common household item. Additionally, alcohol can also be hidden in things like shampoo or soda bottles.

Other important signs the tour highlights are:

  • Anti-diarrheal medicines, as opioids can cause constipation
  • Look in the trash can for empty gel capsules, burnt aluminum foil or cotton swabs with missing cotton
  • Look for missing silverware, especially spoons
  • Shoes with the laces removed
  • Digital scales

Others Signs of Teen Drug Use

According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, signs of drug use in teens include:

  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • New or frequently changing groups of friends
  • Changes in participation with family routines
  • Withdrawal
  • Unusual or violent behavior
  • Slurred speech or limited communication
  • Lack of motivation
  • Stealing
  • Neglect of hygiene
  • Carelessness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Raw or dripping nostrils
  • Picking at hair or skin
  • Drowsiness or fatigue after hyper episodes

When several of these symptoms are present or you’ve found hidden drugs or drug paraphernalia, it is important to take steps to help the teenager that’s using drugs or alcohol. Teens are often only experimenting with substances and may not fully understand their recreational drug use can have long-term consequences.

Help can take several forms, including intervention or treatment. There are many resources and even specialized treatment facilities available to meet the specific needs of adolescents and help set them on a path to sobriety.

If your teenager is struggling with addiction, contact The Recovery Village. One of our caring intake coordinators can discuss your specific situation and help you figure out treatment options that work for you and your family.

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