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“Hidden in Plain View” display helps Heartland parents spot risky teen habits

Updated: Feb. 6, 2020 at 11:11 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - In the midst of the opioid crisis, states legalizing marijuana and more teens vaping, finding drugs in your child’s room could be more likely than you think.

The age of the internet is also making it easier for teens to purchase stash cans or discover other ways to hide their bad habits.

Addiction is Real, a nonprofit based in St. Louis, Mo. brought it’s traveling “Hidden In Plain View” bedroom display to Cape Girardeau for the first time Thursday Feb. 6.

Nearly 100 parents attended the workshop to learn what red flags to look for and how to start talking to their kids about drug use.

New mom Brooke Adams was shocked to see the creative ways and items teens can use to stash pills, alcohol and other drugs and how a lot of it can easily be bought online.

“I love Amazon prime. I shop it 24/7, so when she said these kids are getting these stashes, shirts and hats off Amazon that is crazy to me," Adams said. "You know you walk past and don’t think anything of it, but that could be something that could potentially kill you child some day.”

Maria Davis is a health educator in Cape Girardeau County and also helped organize the event.

The federal government just raised the legal smoking age to 21 for tobacco and vapes.

Davis said the new law helps but certain products are still being made specifically for kids to hide.

“I’ve seen markers that are actually vape pens, and they didn’t do that for an adult," Davis said. “They make hoodies with it on the end of the string. The biggest thing for public health is that teens who vape are two times more likely to start picking up cigarettes. They think it’s a cool thing to do but don’t realize it’s a life long addiction.”

Pam Greenburg with Addiction Is Real said the mock bedroom display also raises awareness about other home-made highs that kids experiment with.

“Some Kids are putting some alcohol in a bottle, put a cork on it and then put a ball pump in through the cork and start to pump until they can’t anymore,” Greenburg said. "Then the cork pops out and a vapor comes out of the bottle, and they inhale it. It goes right into their lungs and their bloodstream, so if they get too much they can not throw it up or have their stomach pumped. Kids are dying from this and ending up in the emergency room.”

The event encourages parents to do their own detective work and also talk to their kids about the dangers of drug use so they can prevent a problem, or reduce one that is already occurring.

“Studies show the more frequently you talk to your kids about drug use and alcohol use the less likely they are to do it," Davis said. "Being honest with them, and having that open conversation, and not judging them for what they say. It may be surprising but overall then they feel like tell you more and open up to you.”

The next “Hidden In Plain View” workshop will take place in Sikeston on May 4th.

A virtual version online of the display can also be found on the Addiction Is Real website.

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