CHELTENHAM, Pa. (CBS) — Parents of teenagers are being put to the test. The quiz was all about spotting the warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse, and other troubling behavior.
A lot of parents might be thinking, “I was a teenager not long ago. I know what to look for: a baggie of marijuana under the mattress, a bottle of alcohol inside of a pillow.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Officials Begin Clearing Homeless Encampment Near Reading Terminal Market
But inside this simulated bedroom, many parents learned that the game has changed. Constructed on the stage at Cedarbrook Middle School in Cheltenham, a mock teenage bedroom is on display, along with what could be a child’s hiding spots.
“If you have those air vents that are in the wall, that’s not an untypical place,” Lisa Wolff, with the Center for Humanistic Change, said.
Parents were invited in for a challenge to uncover 100 “diversion safes” or seemingly benign items that could be used to disguise signs of drug and alcohol abuse in their kids.
“It can be something as simple as an empty dental floss container or Chapstick container, that they take it out and rump it in. You’re never going to suspect that,” Wolff said.
More elaborated “diversion safes” include fake batteries used to store pills or a computer mouse that actually houses a scale.READ MORE: Two Delaware County School Districts Opening Vaccination Clinics For Students Ages 16 Or Older
“My goal is not to make people concerned or have them go home and throw out everything they find in their kids’ rooms,” School Resource Officer Beth Sanborn said. “What I want them to do is to look for cues, clues or a progression in their child’s behavior.”
What about parents worried about violating their child’s privacy by going through their room?
“I don’t have that problem,’ one man said. “It’s a dictatorship in my house, it was a dictatorship in my mother’s house and her mother’s house and everyone before her. Everyone must earn their level of privacy and level of respect.”
Many of the “diversion safes” on display are easily purchased online or in corner stores, so if you think something’s off, leaders say twist and turn those items and don’t be afraid to snoop around.
“I work with several parents who have unfortunately lost their children to drugs and their message is always educate yourself,” Wolff said.
Officials said that there are two major warning signs that might serve as a preamble to a child abusing drugs or alcohol: Having a lot of older friends and saying that some of their friends use drugs, but that they don’t.MORE NEWS: Trenton Officials Making Sure People With Mobility Issues Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
Experts say that if their friends are using drugs, your child is likely thinking about it or lying about not yet trying them.