MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Teens using drugs is nothing new, but the way they are hiding them from parents is changing every day. So, to keep up with the different tricks youth use to hide drugs and alcohol from their parents, the “Stashed Away” trailer visited the city of Murfreesboro.
It looks and feels like a typical teenage bedroom, equipped with a bed, desk and even a sink. However, hidden around every corner are drugs, and oftentimes you wouldn’t know it or see it by just looking.
“This may look like your average hoodie,” explained Kaysi Paul, with the Prevention Coalition for Success. “If you look closely, you will see a vape pen. You can put it back in, and it’s hidden.”
Paul demonstrated a seemingly normal-looking hoodie, but hidden inside is a vape pen, easily accessible for a teen without a parent even knowing. She also explained how some teens will buy hookah tubes that can be fed through the hood part of a hoodie, making it into a way to smoke vapors.
“Things are always changing, and kids are always finding new ways,” explained Paul.
The hiding places are subtle for a reason. A recent study by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics showed nearly 35,000 teens, between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, reported using drugs in the last month.
“The one that threw me for a loop was in a hoodie, they put in the hood and put it in the closet, so I said if your kids ever hang up their clothes out of nowhere, that should be a warning sign,” said Meghan Carter, standing next to her 13-year old son.
According to the Prevention Coalition for Success, in Rutherford County, only 56% of parents talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol. That’s where the Stashed Away trailer comes in.
“You don’t necessarily want your parents to know you’re doing this, so you’re going to buy secretive, it shows many different ways it can be hidden in an average item,” said Paul.
In Tennessee, the latest drug overdose report showed fentanyl deaths are up by 46%. It’s a figure that parents worry will impact their teens.
“With fentanyl, I think Narcan should be available to everyone. I think it’s scary as any parent to know that there could be a hidden substance in something completely innocent that your child is doing,” explained Carter.
Now, a new drug is sweeping the state. It’s called Isotonitazine, known as ISO. ISO is believed to be more potent than fentanyl. Already, the Tennessee National Guards Counterdrug Taskforce is seeing it pop up in Henry, Bristol and White Counties, but they say soon it will hit Middle Tennessee.
“So, just knowing what they’re putting in their bodies because typically they’re not getting it from a regulated store, and this stuff is not regulated to begin with,” explained Paul.
The National Guard puts on this demonstration to teach parents and School Resource Officers across the state. If you would like to learn about one near you, call (615) 574-8642.