Is your child dealing with addiction? A local program gives parents the warning signs

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Parents know there’s a fine line between giving kids independence and keeping them safe.

Teenagers often consider their bedrooms their sacred space, but a Monday night program in Raleigh encouraged parents to go in their teens’ rooms and showed them exactly what to look for. It’s called “The Top Secret Project.”

The bedroom isn’t real, but it’s designed to reveal a very real problem. 

“One thing we hear very frequently from parents is they don’t ever go in their kids’ rooms,” explained Jessica Wong, with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “There are over 200 items that could be an indication that a child might be struggling with addiction or mental health issues.”

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation treats young people dealing with addiction, and brought this mock teenager’s room to Journey Church in Raleigh to teach parents what to look for. 

It included pills hidden in flip-flops, an apple used as a pipe, and the pages of a book carved out to hide drug paraphernalia. 

“I feel very naïve looking at this room,” said Kira Grantz, who added she’ll look a little more closely at her teen’s room now. “You never realize they could hide everything in plain sight,” she said. 

Nigel Lucas isn’t surprised by the display, though. 

“Kids these days get smarter and smarter to hide things from their parents,” he said. He went on to explain. “I’m in recovery myself. A lot of the stuff I’ve seen I’ve done myself.” 

He says he knows teenagers probably don’t want their parents in their rooms, but added.

“As my mom taught me,  if you live in your parents’ house you don’t really have that privacy…I think it’s important for parents to come and see the early signs of [addiction] and what to look for.”

Something they see could end up getting their children some much-needed help.  

If you’d like to find out more about how to talk to your kids about addiction or find help, click here.

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