Teenagers are in a difficult “in-between” time of life. They’re no longer children, and they’re not yet adults. Not only are they experiencing a physiological and hormonal awakening, but psychologically they’re beginning to think for themselves.
Balancing a teen’s need for privacy while protecting them from poor decisions, like using and hiding drugs, or having sex, can be incredibly difficult.
Technology can make a parent’s job even harder in this regard. Teenagers are often more up-to-date with computer and smartphone programs that can hide information from their parents.
The Today Show and other media outlets have reported on teens “sexting” using so-called “ghost apps.”
These are apps that appear to be one thing but, with the right password, transform into an app that, for example, hides particular photographs.
It should come as no surprise that, as a 2012 study revealed, some 70% of teens report hiding online activity from their parents.
With drug abuse in the teen population getting more and more dangerous, it’s incumbent upon parents to be aware of how creative their teenagers can be when it comes to hiding illicit drugs.
Where Do Teens Hide Drugs From Parents?
Highlighters have a space between the tip of the pen and the top of the cap that can easily conceal small amounts of marijuana or other drugs.
2. Makeup Containers
Makeup containers like lipstick or lip gloss tubes also have small spaces where cocaine or ecstasy tablets can be secretly stashed.
3. The Car
A teen’s car has any number of places where drugs can be concealed out of site, in either large or small quantities.
4. Pens and Markers
Regular ink pens like highlighters and lipstick tubes can house small amounts of drugs, especially powders like heroin, when the actual pen is removed or modified.
Believe it or not, toilets are a great example of hiding something in plain sight. Drugs can be in a waterproof bag and taped inside a toilet’s works or underneath the back of the bowl.
6. Candy Wrappers
Candy wrappers with the candy removed can hide drugs and go easily unnoticed. Sometimes they are hidden alongside the candy and other times they are scrunched inside the empty wrapper and left in the bottom of a purse or backpack.
7. Belt Buckles
Belt buckles are sold online that have disguised compartments and can even be used as a pipe to smoke marijuana, in some cases.
Posters that are hung or tacked on the wall can conceal substances, such as paper tabs of LSD, that are easily flattened.
9. Closets and Clothing Drawers
Sock drawers or closets filled with clothes and shoes are classic hiding spots and offer any number of places to hide drugs.
10. Game Consoles
Computers and game consoles that many teens use in their rooms have hollow spots in the controllers where small amounts of drugs can be hidden.
11. Outside the House
Areas outside of the house are difficult to monitor, yet offer plenty of places where a teen can stash drugs they don’t want to keep in the house.
Knowing where your teenager spends a lot of their time, their route to school, and the friends they spend time with is a good idea.
12. Bookshelves or Books
The Bedroom Bookshelf or individual books can easily be modified to conceal drugs or alcohol.
This is a classic hiding spot because pages can easily be carved out of books to conceal any number of items. It’s even easier to hide items behind the books on a shelf.
13. Medicine Cabinet
The family medicine cabinet might not be a place where a teen stashes their drugs but can be a place they go to abuse drugs, like cough medicine, sleeping pills or painkillers.
Parents should always take a mental inventory of all medications and over-the-counter medicine that is within reach of their teens.
The same is true for any alcohol bottles that might be sitting on a shelf or in a cupboard.
14. Stash Cans
Hollowed-out stash cans with fake bottoms like the one shown above can be found online or in head shops and come in a wide range of normal-looking household products.
In fact, they are usually actual working containers of soda cans, shaving cream, WD-40, oven cleaners, canned foods, and almost anything normally found around the house.
The Carpet Fresh container above works just like the real thing and contains carpet cleaner if opened from the top, but the bottom unscrews and has a hollow chamber for hiding any number of items.
The infographic below from Test Country illustrates some of the drug hiding places mentioned here.
While not violating a teen’s trust or their understandable need for privacy, parents have to be vigilant in watching for signs of potential drug abuse.
A sudden change in friends they’re hanging out with, greater defiance or disrespect than before, a drop in grades or even withdrawal from family activities should be enough for parents to start a conversation with their children about drugs and alcohol.