LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Everyday objects that can be found in any teenager’s room can also serve as hiding spots for drugs and alcohol.
Objects like a soda can-turned-stash container, a Rubik’s Cube that opens with the right color combination and a bottle of hairspray with a secret compartment.
Another object that looks and feels real is one resembling an Aquafina water bottle, which when unscrewed, provides a storage container.
“I think they get a kick out of it when their parents don’t know about it, and they’re doing something right in front of them,” said Sandy Logan of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Logan is a substance abuse-prevention specialist in the San Fernando Valley.
She says up to 40 percent of the teens she has worked with have used unassuming items to hide their stashes.
It’s something Lori Gonsalves wishes she had known about when her once-healthy, athletic son overdosed on heroin and suffered severe and permanent brain damage.
“Standing there as a mom watching your child get the last rites is absolutely heart wrenching,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves’ son did survive, but she says there were warning signs of addiction she missed that were right under her nose.
“I noticed one of the serving spoons in my kitchen was gone, and I would find Q-tips in there and I thought, ‘Wow, he’s keeping his ears really clean,’ ” she said.
Some of the deceptive objects can be purchased online, originally intended for people wanting to hide cash or jewelry at home.
Logan says to keep an eye out for that one book on the bookshelf that doesn’t have dust on it.
“Because kids don’t clean, right? So, they go ahead and have one book that they’ve been accessing,” she said.
Also, lots of empty water bottles could indicate dry mouth from pills or pot.
When in doubt, she says, don’t hesitate to search.
“This is your home; you have the right to go ahead and look at your child’s items,” she said.