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'Hidden in Plain Sight' exhibit in Issaquah educates parents on the signs of teen substance abuse

Addiction specialists say there's a lot we can learn about our teens behavior, just by looking.

SEATTLE — "Hidden in Plain Sight" is an educational exhibition that teaches parents the signs to look for in their teens' bedrooms to spot drug and alcohol use. 

Parents are shown a "typical teenager's bedroom" and experts talk about what items teens might be using to obscure substance abuse so parents can recognize when there's something wrong. 

"It’s such a balancing act, looking at supporting adolescent development and privacy but at the same time making sure our kids are healthy and they’re safe and they’re well," said Jerry Blackburn, executive director of Influence the Choice

The show-and-tell exhibit provides parents an opportunity to walk through a model room and identify signs constructed to provoke conversations between parents and their children. 

"As a prevention strategy, as a protective factor, conversations with your kids is the No. 1 way we can dissuade their substance use," Blackburn said.

In his interview with New Day Northwest, Blackburn demonstrates typical hiding spots teens have used to conceal drugs or other paraphernalia.

Drugfree.org says the following are common hiding spots to check in a child's room:  

  • Dresser drawers beneath or between clothes
  • Desk drawers
  • CD/DVD/Tape/Video cases
  • Small boxes – jewelry, pencil, etc.
  • Backpacks/duffle bags
  • Under a bed
  • In a plant, buried in the dirt
  • In between books on a bookshelf
  • Inside books with pages cut out
  • Makeup cases – inside fake lipstick tubes or compacts
  • Under a loose plank in floor boards
  • Inside over-the-counter medicine containers (Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
  • Inside empty candy bags such as M&Ms or Skittles

The Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit will be available Tuesday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Skyline High School in Sammamish.

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