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Hidden in plain sight: How to help kids stop taking drugs

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Hidden dangers in your child's bedroom is a reality parents need to understand.

When parents feel something might be wrong, experts say they should look. The answer could be concealed in your own home. 

What if your child was hiding drugs? Do you think you would know? Most of us would say yes, but what we found might surprise you. 

Pens, phones and water bottles may look like common items, but they could actually be hiding places for vapes, alcohol or drugs. 

Keeping our kids safe in a dangerous world. That's the goal of the Bonneville Youth Development Council.

"We're trying to build a community up as a whole, I think to educate and to get these kids to help that they need," Dr. Jim Hopla said. "To bring everybody together to save these kids lives because these drugs are their decimating kids."

Inside this trailer is what looks like a teenager's room, but hidden in plain sight is so much more.

This could be any kid's desk but almost everything you see here is a way to hide drugs, vapes or alcohol.

"It's rare that we have any of the kids in these classrooms have not had some experience or some type of information themselves about vaping or drugs or alcohol," Bonneville Youth Development Council Executive Director Dan Barker said.

This traveling trailer teaches anyone who works with kids how to spot signs of possible substance abuse or other risky behaviors.

"Another thing we try to teach parents is to look in the garbage for clues if they're self harming," Hopla said.

So could you spot these things? Linda Larsen found out it's harder than you might think.

"Where do you draw the line? How do you invade your child's privacy but still keep their trust?" Linda asked.

"Be involved," Hopla said. "Kids state that their best deterrent from drugs is their mom, is their parents. Parents need to be involved in those kids' lives. Ask them how things are going, 'what's going on at school? 'What's going on at home on the weekend?" Be involved."

Many teens are engaged in this high stakes game of hide and seek. So it's vital that parents get involved now.

"Parents know their kids best," educator Alycia Jensen said. "And when your child starts exhibiting some behaviors that are not usual and you have some concerns, I think that's a time where a parent might want to consult you know, with the other parent or someone else. Is this a time where I can step into my kids this room and take a look at everything that's in there? And the answer is yes. Like you need to protect your kids."

The Hidden in Plain Sight trailer is available for anyone over 18 to come and look through and learn how to spot these hiding places. 

The most important thing to remember is that it's not about busting your teens for the possible drug alcohol or vaping use but to get them the help they need.

It could save their life. 

To get more information or schedule the trailer to come to your event, you can reach them at

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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Linda Larsen

Linda is an anchor and reporter for Local News 8.


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