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Expert says teens hide drugs in plain sight, explains where to find them

A drug recognition officer unscrews a flashlight to reveal a container resembling a battery, storing fake pills.
A drug recognition officer unscrews a flashlight to reveal a container resembling a battery, storing fake pills.(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 4, 2020 at 7:21 PM CST
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Teens are hiding drugs in their cars and their bedrooms-- in plain sight-- according to an Edgerton drug recognition officer.

Lieutenant Doug Vierck teaches local educators and parents to look for what’s not normal, though he says online retailers sell storage cases that make it difficult to spot.

Inside a demo car, Vierck unscrews an energy drink to reveal a hidden compartment. He says parents should check flashlights, too. It could contain a case that looks like a battery but actually holds pills.

Vierck says teens who don’t have their own cars may think their bedrooms are safer.

A bong can be disguised as a flower vase, what looks like a cigarette pocket can be a digital scale, a paracord bracelet can be unscrewed into a pipe and a USB stick can double as a vaping device.

Items with graphics can also suggest new behavior. The word “dab,” which Vierck found printed on a t-shirt, refers to the way people use hash or cannabis oil. Vierck points out a pillowcase with the symbols 4-2-0, which is commonly used as code for marijuana use and its celebration on April 20.

Parent Erin Springstead says she has attended several of these "Hidden in Plain Sight" demonstrations.

“I think one of the biggest pieces [takeaways] is being able to see the items (and) also hear the language and the lingo, just knowing some of the items that are in the market now that are newer and were not around when we were younger,” she said.

Springstead, who is also a high school counselor, says observations can help lead to honest conversations about drugs. She adds that parents don’t have to wait for suspicions.

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