DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado school resource officers say keeping drugs out of schools has become a real challenge, especially as marijuana has a big impact on kids. Alcohol, marijuana and prescriptions pills continue to be the top three abused substances seen in our schools according to those officers.
Students are coming up with often surprising and crafty ways to hide drugs along with their potential addictions.
“My drug of choice was alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine,” says Eric Lapp.
Lapp is a recovering addict who is now the CEO of the Raleigh House, a treatment facility.
He, along with several other recovering addicts talked to CBS4’s Jennifer Brice about their addictions and the great lengths they went to hide the actual substances.
Wendy Stine says she first used alcohol at 9 years old. She’s now works at Harmony Foundation, also a substance abuse treatment facility.
Addicts will tell you they have done it all and hidden drugs in places you might never imagine.
“Garage door openers,” says Lapp.
“I’d hide it inside of books.” Stine adds, “No one would ever think to go into a box of tampons.”
She says she hid her alcohol and drugs there as a teenager.
Ben Cort, with CeDAR, Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation at University of Colorado Hospital says he even kept a sheet of acid in his parent’s freezer.
“I’d just slide it right behind the ice,” he says. “I even stashed drugs in their car.”
With Lapp, Stine and Cort all now working in the drug treatment industry, they encourage parents to stay informed about drug trends.
Some Denver high school students told CBS4 every substance imaginable can be found on campuses and are well hidden by kids.
Josphef Camble, a 16-year-old junior at East High School says “Everyone is smoking weed, it’s Colorado.”
He says kids “just hide it, not trying to get caught.”
Camble also demonstrated how to manipulate a backpack to make a secret compartment.
Akiyah Graham is a 14-year-old freshman at East High School. She says she doesn’t use drugs but she often hears about the ways kids will hide them.
“They take the batteries out of flashlights and hide drugs in flashlights, lighters, sock drawers,” said Graham.
Graham says kids will hide drugs in remotes behind couches, even under couches in their parent’s homes.
Everyday items manipulated into drug safes can be easily bought at head shops and online: coke bottles, cleaning supply cans, even highlighters and para-cord bracelets that are smoking pipes.
School resource officers say they confiscate drug stashes from students weekly.
“Inside ChapStick containers, the brim of a baseball cap, we find drugs in things like this often,” says Sergeant Tim Read of the Westminster Police Department. “It’s not really surprising because it’s a reflection of where we are in Colorado.”
Read runs a team of SRO’s in Adams County Schools. He encourages parents to know what substances look like such as: cocaine, ecstasy, pot along with many more kinds of substances.
Read encourages parents to know the items associated with their use, its paraphernalia, along with creative ways kids choose to hid the drugs. Former addicts will tell parents not to be afraid to confront your kids.
“If you suspect something,” says Stine. “To not do that (confront your kids) it is just waiting for something to happen.”
Cort agrees. He also believes parents need to ask themselves some hard questions about their own use of a substance.
“Parents now feel they can use with total impunity,” says Cort. “But your kids are watching parents, your kids are watching.”
Experts encourage parents to be engaged with their kids. Talk to your kids, make time for them and don’t hesitate looking around their room.