Parents urged to be aware of how teens may hide drugs in plain sight

SAFE event shows parents hidden signs of drug use in teens

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Jennifer King spent Thursday evening at presentation “Hidden in Plain Sight” snapping photos of seemingly every day objects in a mock bedroom, but these items are concealing a disturbing truth.

“You think you know. Kids are sneaky,” King said.

Law enforcement officers say children may be guilty of using decoy objects that can be readily bought off the internet to hide drugs and other illegal or harmful substances right under their parents’ noses.

King is a parent of three teenagers in Chesterfield and was shocked to learn of the different ways children could hide drugs in their bedrooms.

“You’ve got to check,” King said.

It’s why officer Michael Grant with the Culpeper Police Department travels the state presenting the Hidden in Plain Sight program, a presentation designed to make parents more aware of the objects.

Young people were not allowed to attend the presentation.

“We cover a lot of topics on drugs, alcohol,” Grant said. “Parents walk into a room, look at it every day and don’t realize they’re looking at.”

With the help of local nonprofit Substance Abuse Free Environment or SAFE, Grant brought this need-to-know information to dozens of parents in Chesterfield showing examples of containers of peanut butter, soda or other snacks and drinks with hidden compartments designed to hide substances like marijuana or heroin.

They also showed images of teenagers abusing household items as common as cleaning products, hand sanitizer and detergent pods.

“You’d rather start now than later on find something you really shouldn’t be finding,” Grant said.

Grant said you should think twice if your child has these products that would normally be keep in a kitchen or garage, in their room.

“I’ve got kids in high school that are taking stuff up to their room and putting stuff in their computer, so I’m going home to check it all out,” King said.

But Grant said the idea of the presentation isn’t to give parents permission to raid their child’s room.

"It doesn’t mean that anything we’ve presented tonight is written in stone, and is definitely happening, but it’s to start that conversation,” Grant said.

He said it’s important to talk with your child about potentially dangerous behaviors and activities, even if they are not engaging in them.

“Being aware of what’s going on, what are they doing, what games are they playing, what are they watching on their TV, what are they watching on the computer, what’s on their phones,” Grant said. “You have to remember you can look at that any time you want.”

Organizers are also asking Chesterfield residents to take an anonymous online survey on drug or alcohol use. To take that survey click here.

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