In Plain Sight: New products and tricks teens use to hide drugs at home
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Drugs--stashed in deodorant containers or soda cans.
Pipes and bongs, made out of simple household items.
Local authorities say many kids experimenting with drugs are hiding them in plain sight.
Would you know where to look?
"Look at everything. And pretty much question everything," said Lieutenant Brad Smith with the Cape Girardeau Police Department.
I met Smith and Task Force Officer Mike Alford in the Cape P.D. evidence room.
Alford said teens are turning to the same kind of false containers drug dealers used to try and fool police in the past.
"They have more to lose," he said of young drug users, "Because they are trying to hide it from their parents, where adults are more trying to hide it from us."
Alford showed us some drug concealment staples they've confiscated like a coffee can filled with real coffee but including a false bottom and a hollowed out soda can.
"But when you open it up, you can put drugs inside there."
Marketed as hideaway safes, they're sold at shops that also market blown glass pipes as tobacco pipes.
"And the stores know what the law is," Alford explained. "And what they can and can't say. I mean, If you walked down and tried to ask for a marijuana pipe, we don't sell those. We sell tobacco pipes."
And, it's not really hard to find one of those shops.
One on Broadway in Cape recently shut down because, according to law enforcement, the owner's are in a Florida jail right now on drug charges.
There are two other shops in town and many gas stations sell items that may not look obvious to you but are commonly used to ingest or conceal drugs.
We sent Heartland News producer Michale Johnson with $40 to see what kind of new concealment items can be bought right here in town.
He came back with what certainly looks like a name-brand men's deodorant.
He showed me how it works.
"You just open it up just like the regular deodorant. Only there's no deodorant. And you just twist it like a deodorant stick. And the top pops off."
The plastic container was hollowed out inside. The shop sells it under the category "hideaway safes".
And this isn't all he saw.
"They had a mini Chips Ahoy, those cups that they sell," Johnson said. "Cookie cups with a false bottom. They had a Monster Energy Drink., A&W soda, a Clorox bottle, a Pringles can, a can of Spam and Spagettios."
So, how can parents keep up? Alford said you should check out these stores for yourself.
"Walk in there and look and see what's new so if you see that in a car or you see it in your child's room, you may be more familiar with that. They can get online and look at it."
Something else your kids can find online? How to make their own drug items from everyday objects. Lt. Brad Smith said he's not giving away any real secrets here.
"They already know it. I mean, you just go to YouTube and type that in and it's there."
For example, you can easily search how to make a pipe out of an ink pen.
"Remove the ink. You need the pen with a removable bottom. And then, through this part, you can ingest. Or you can just pull this out and there's your pipe."
Even a piece of foil can be used.
Smith rolled a pen up in a small piece of foil, then pulled out the pen and bent the end of the tube up in the air.
"Open that end. Kind of warble that around for your bowl. Here's your poor man's pipe."
He also said that there are several videos that can show you how to make a bong for smoking marijuana from an apple or banana.
Licensed Professional Counselor Michael Hester works with young recovering addicts.
"A lot of times they're hiding things right in their room," Hester said. "One young person, they were burying it in the backyard."
Hester described how a client recently told him how he was hiding drugs from his parents.
"He would hide them in his clothes. He would hide syringes in his ties in his closet, for example. Mostly though, they're just hiding things like in their outlets, or vents. Like in Candy wrappers or soda cans."
Hester said while most kids want you to respect their privacy, as a parent, you've got to trust your gut.
"If we see something that just doesn't feel right I think it's within our boundaries to check that out. And hey, if you go through your kids' room and you don't find anything there. Now, they're just upset. You know hey, at least you've got an upset kid one some level who knows you do care about them."
The most common drugs kids are hiding, and using, according to law enforcement--marijuana and prescription pills.
Hester said there are some key warning signs to watch for if you suspect your child may be experimenting....like a radical change in friends or activities, extreme weight loss or more frequent illnesses, strange smells in the house, or money missing from your wallet or purse.
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