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Experts: Ordinary places teens hide drugs

Posted January 21, 2019 7:00 a.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2019 11:05 a.m. EST

When youth give in to the temptation of drugs or alcohol, parents may be the last to know. But health educators say there are early clues if you know what to look for.

In a teenager's bedroom, some signs of trouble may seem obvious.

Other hiding spots aren't so easy to find.

For example, a water bottle in a backpack could actually have a hidden compartment, said Susan Foster with the Poe Center for Health Education.

Other examples experts have seen? A candle that appears normal could actually have a safe underneath it used to hide drugs, and a wristwatch, when unscrewed, could be a grinder for marijuana.

To help parents see where drugs are hidden, a special bedroom was on display at Vance-Granville Community College, where law enforcement and other groups offer a variety of resources.

Their message? To help children avoid addiction or, at least, to catch it early.

"Addiction is very dangerous at a younger age," said Virginia Johnson from the Poe Center. "Their minds are still growing. The youth brain is still developing up into their mid 20s. Some youth start using as early as middle school, so it's never too early to start talking about substances."

Matt Abbott, a former user, still considers himself a recovering addict although he has been clean and sober for 10 years. He recognized a "Dust Off" canister, which users call a "whip-it" when they use it to get high, right away.

According to Abbott, becoming numb to pain or emotions is often the goal of drug use. "But the drug always wears off and the depression and things that follow are heightened to major levels," said Abbott.