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"Hidden in Plain Sight" project hopes to bring substance use awareness to parents

Leaders from a substance and alcohol prevention team in Prosser want to raise awareness about new ways teens are using drugs

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – Leaders from a substance and alcohol prevention team in Prosser want to raise awareness about new ways teens are using drugs.

They started a project called "Hidden in Plain Sight” to help point out things in your teen’s bedroom room that could be clues of dangerous behavior.

The group set up a mock teen boy's bedroom, putting 60 different "clues” in the room that should raise red flags to parents.

They had some community members walk through the room to see if they could spot them and most were shocked at how many clues they missed that were right in front of them.

"Sometimes kids are tricky and we want parents to know what's out there and help them be more prepared," said Jennifer Dorsett with the Prosser Community Involvement and Action Committee.

The Prosser Community Involvement and Action Coalition came up with a project to help clue parent's in on how children can use everyday items for dangerous behaviors.

“Here's a magazine that looks like it's promoting drug use," said Julie Hyatt with the Prosser School District.

We followed Hyatt around as she tried to find the clues.

“This looks like a book that isn't really a book. It looked like that to me and sure enough it’s method for hiding some drug paraphernalia," said Hyatt.

Hyatt thought she found a lot of the hidden clues, but after officials pointed out all of the clues, she was shocked.

“Most of them I did not see. I am stunned. I had no idea how many everyday items could be used for drug use," said Hyatt.

"Sometimes parents don't think of these things individually as something, but when they're paired together with other items they can lead to risky behavior," said Dorsett.

For example, officials said having a ton of air fresheners and empty potato chip cans could mean the teen is storing drugs and trying to hide the smell.

“In our Healthy Youth Survey from 2016, we found out that youth in the community- their perception of harm is much lower than it was two years ago. Although kids use may be going down, they're thinking that it's a lot less risky to use," said Dorsett.

Officials said parents need to talk to their kids about the dangers and keep their eyes peeled.

The program will available for parents starting this summer.

For information on how to sign up, click here, and for resources on how to talk to your teens, click here.

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