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Where your teen’s drug habit might be hiding

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ARLINGTON, Wash. – It’s in the back of every parent’s mind: drugs. How to spot them and more importantly, how to talk to your teen about them, was the focus of a meeting Thursday night at Arlington’s Weston High School.

“What would my kid need a spoon in their room for?” asked a parent, while searching through a mock bedroom of a teenage boy.

“That’s the thing,” replied another, “it’s hidden.”

The hiding places are getting better, said Tracy Vanbeek, but so is she.

“I am very tough on my kids, but I am not naive enough to think that my kids are perfect,” she said.

The mother of a teenage son, she said it’s hard to keep up. It’s the reason she was taking notes at Thursday’s meeting.

“We think if our kid is an athlete then we don’t have to worry about drugs, and that is so far from the truth,”she said.

In this day and age, Vanbeek said, she came to the drug walk-through as a parent, trying to think like a teen. Multiple examples of drug concealment cases were at the meeting.

From a Dasani water bottle that twists in half to hide drugs, to a hair brush that can hide heroin in the handle, Arlington police said they’ve seen it all.

Vanbeek said it’s important to know the signs of drug use and share what she’s learned at the meeting with her kids. “If some kid wants to put a water bottle in your locker, you might want to think twice,” she said.

“You can get these anywhere, truthfully,” said Arlington police officer Mike Gilbert. “The Dollar Store, Amazon, Spencer’s,” those are all places, he said, that teens are buying the tools to hide their habits.

Lisa Martin said she wished this class was around four years ago. “I was so naive the first time I walked into my daughter’s room,” she said. “When I finally started digging and finding things, I was absolutely shocked at things I found, where they were, how much of it I found.”

She said her daughter was addicted to heroin. “She tried it one time and that was it,” said Martin.

The drug was offered to her daughter by a co-worker while in high school. Martin said she came to Thursday’s meeting to support the parents and teachers, with advice in hand for anyone that asks.

“The one mistake that I made when I found out my daughter had tried heroin is that I froze up and didn’t take it seriously enough,” she said. “If you find out your child is involved in something, you need to get them help immediately. Don’t wait.”

As for Vanbeek, the hiding places may change, but the drugs won’t. She said she knows she’s the answer to helping her kids make the right choice.

“It is such a problem,” said Vanbeek about drugs in Washington state. “If we don’t do something about it and educate our youth before they are adults, nothing is going to change.”

Mayo Clinic offers a list of signs and symptoms when someone close to you might be addicted to drugs.

For more information click on the link below:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/symptoms/con-20020970

For ways to start talking to your teen about drugs, the National Institutes on Health has an entire website dedicated to tips and ideas:

https://teens.drugabuse.gov/parents/drugs-and-your-kids