As a parent, it doesn’t matter how old your child is because you always see them as your baby. They could be well into their 20s, graduated from college, married, have children, and be deep into their careers, but to you, you’ll always hear the cute made-up words and memories from when they were growing up. With that said, no matter what they’ve accomplished in their lives, hearing about them using drugs is shocking and can be heartbreaking.
Although you might have no control over their lives at this point, for a parent still raising their child and concerned about drugs, it’s important to know that drug dealers today camouflage their drugs to keep the attention away from the watchful eyes of parents or police. Selling drugs is horrendous, and pedaling poison to both children and adults is a horrible way to get by. However, with that said, you can’t say these people aren’t creative. We want to share with you how you can spot camouflaged drugs to keep your family safe.
Access to the internet has given dealers an avenue to find more effective methods to camouflage these drugs. However, it’s also given parents the means to decipher these secrets and try to stay one step ahead. It’s a game of cat and mouse, but as parents, you can always prevail. You should also remind them of the dangers of drugs today and how drug dealers care more about money than their health, meaning they have no problem selling counterfeit drugs like oxycodone that contain the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Below is a helpful guide on how parents can learn how to spot if their teens are using drugs. Even without finding any substances, parents may spot other things like paraphernalia that can immediately raise red flags about them using illicit drugs.
Common Drug Paraphernalia
Teens have become keen on hiding their substance use from their parents. With the evolution of drugs today, such as vapes, it’s not as easy as smelling marijuana on their breath or person and knowing they’ve used drugs. Teens who get high with vapes can simply put in some eye drops, and their parents won’t ever know unless, of course, their behaviors change. However, you can catch them by finding their vape or other paraphernalia that’s around the house.
Drug paraphernalia refers to the materials that contribute to drug use. These include containers that store or transport illegal substances, baggies, and other tools used to prepare a drug for consumption like razor blades, mirrors, and other materials used to take the drug, such as straws, lighters, or foil. However, there is common paraphernalia that can easily allow you to determine if they’re using drugs.
Bongs & Pipes
Bongs and pipes are common and pretty easy to spot. Although they’re sold under the guise of tobacco, they’re hardly used for that reason. Other drugs like hash can also be used by smoking a pipe, as well as heroin, crack cocaine, and meth, but those drugs use specific styles that come in different shapes and sizes. Pipes these days may be camouflaged as glass designs for decorative purposes, so you should always investigate a bit further if you have suspicions.
Bongs are much bigger and can easily be seen. They are called “water pipes” because at the bottom of the chamber is a space for water that cools down the smoke and makes it less harsh for the user. If you were to find either of these items and think it’s for decorative purposes, make sure to smell it. If it’s dirty with residue on the sides and an unusual odor, it’s been used for drugs.
If your child owns a scale, they’re likely doing more than just using the substance. It could mean they’re selling the drug, too. Drugs are always weighed to ensure the person is not getting more or less than what they paid for. Digital scales are the size of a smartphone and maybe camouflaged as one so that an unsuspecting person wouldn’t bat an eye. Make sure to open it and look for drug residue inside. Since these are commonly camouflaged, you may not notice them at first glance.
Also, keep in mind that if your child has a scale and is caught by the police, their charges will be much worse than if they had a small amount of a drug for personal consumption.
If you find small, sandwich-sized baggies in your child’s room, that should be a cause for concern. Bags typically belong in the kitchen, and it’s highly unlikely that your child is making a sandwich in their bedroom. These bags are used to sell cocaine, marijuana, heroin, crack cocaine, or prescription painkillers, which are intended to be discreet. If you find these with residue, it’s a sign they’re using them. However, if you find a set of new bags in conjunction with a scale, it’s a good indicator they’re selling.
Although these are common means of knowing if your child is using drugs, you must become aware of the means a dealer will take to camouflage drugs and teach your kids what to do so that you don’t find out.
Methods to Camouflage Drugs
Now that you know what to look for that is a bit more obvious, we want to inform you of other methods drug dealers use to camouflage their drugs that require a much more in-depth means of searching. According to the BBC, dealers have been using bizarre tactics to hide drugs. For example, they may hide their drugs in gym bags with coffee grounds to hide the smell. A smelly old gym bag with dirty clothes is not your first choice to look, making it an ideal option to hide something.
Drug dealers might also hide drugs in food items in hollowed-out fruit. If there is an apple in your teen’s room, you wouldn’t think anything of it. However, it may be hollowed out and put back together with drugs inside.
Dealers have even found ways to put drugs inside the clothing, another area you may not look at unless it were to come out while doing laundry. Unfortunately, there are many other methods that we’re still learning about today. It’s easy to miss this, which is why camouflage works. If they’re at a point where they’re hiding drugs from you, it could indicate a bigger problem like addiction.
Your best option at this point is to sit down with your child and remind them of the dangers. They might dismiss you as a worrying parent, but make sure to show them news articles about drugs today being tainted with fentanyl. It’s not about if they get a bad drug—it’s when. Fentanyl will kill them instantly, especially if they’re not expecting it.