Some drug paraphernalia is so mundane and commonplace, you would not imagine that it is used for drugs. Finding kitchen items in your child’s bedroom should raise a red flag in your mind and make you question why your steel wool pad or Chore boy for scrubbing dishes is in your child’s bedroom.
Why are there pieces of aluminum foil in his closet? Why is there a box of sandwich bags, triangular corner cuts of sandwich bags, small pieces of paper littered on the closet floor, small cotton balls, or filters from a cigarette? Are your spoons missing? Did you just buy a box a straws that are suddenly missing?
Aluminum foil can be used to smoke crack, methamphetamine, and heroin. Aluminum may also be used when crushing pills to snort. Straws, hollowed out pens, and rolled up dollar bills may be used for snorting cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, and prescription medications.
Finding these items does not necessarily mean that your child is using drugs, but they should prompt a discussion and an explanation as to why they are in the bedroom. If it is for a craft project, then your should look for evidence of completed tasks that utilized the items you found in their room.
Also remember that there is an age limit before kids can purchase alcohol, but they can easily go to the grocery store and purchase containers of vanilla, mint, or orange extract. Many of these bottles contain up to 70% to 90% alcohol. This is more than a shot of whiskey! It is hard to fathom that someone would drink these extracts, but it does happen.
Another popular past time is huffing inhalants. These are easy access items for younger kids to begin using. Inhalants come in three categories. These are the volatile solvents, aerosols, and anesthetic gases. Volatile solvents include paint thinners, gasoline, toluene, glue, and felt-tip markers. Aerosols include spray paints, compressed air as in “Dust-Off” to clean keyboards, deodorant and hair sprays, vegetable oil sprays for cooking, and fabric protector sprays.
The anesthetic gases include ether, chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide (commonly called “laughing gas”). Nitrous oxide is the most abused of these gases and can be found in whipped cream dispensers. Often if a child is huffing, you may smell the chemical or residue on their face, clothes, or hands.
These are just a few items to look for. You want to send a message to your child that you love them and part of showing that is by monitoring their activities. This is not meant to be confrontational and my hope is that you already have open communication with your child. Likely, they have not given you a reason to question them.
But remember that new friends and associates come into your child’s life daily. Some of these contacts are positive, others, not so much. Your child wants to know that you “have their back” should they possibly find themselves in a situation they are not equipped to handle. Let them know you are and will be there for them.