The Bedroom: A Conversation About Substance Abuse

Innocent-looking household items out of place could be an indicator your teen is using drugs.

It looks like any other teenager’s bedroom. There are team flags adorning the walls, a twin bed, a computer desk, water bottles, and keys on the nightstand. The only difference is that this isn’t actually a teenager’s bedroom. Instead, it’s a display in Hanover Mall, outside Boston, and it serves a very unique purpose.

The computer mouse has a secret compartment for hiding pills, the water bottles are filled with alcohol, and the key ring on the nightstand transforms into a marijuana pipe. This mockup is part of an innovative exhibit to tip off parents of the warning signs that their teens could be using drugs and alcohol.

“The goal is to make parents who might think they are savvy about drug and alcohol abuse more aware of how kids use drugs these days, and then to encourage them to talk to their children,” says Barbara Green, PhD, medical director of Youth Health Connection.

This video discusses risk factors for substance abuse among teens:



Bringing the conversation to parents on what to look for in their homes:

The exhibit is titled Hidden in Plain Sight, and it consists of a real bed and furniture designed to look like an actual adolescent’s bedroom. Yet out in the open are 60 items that may look innocent to a parent at first sight, but can be used as drug paraphernalia or for abusing alcohol.

There’s ping-pong balls for beer pong, a can opener for beer bottles, a bent spoon for cooking opiates, and several other household items common with substance abuse. “We’re not trying to scare parents, but educate them and create dialogue,” Karin Farrell, secretary for Youth Health Connection, told Yahoo! Parenting.