hiding drug abuse

Ways Your Child May Be Hiding Their Drug Abuse

Seemingly innocent behaviors such as chewing gum, using eye drops or locking a bathroom door may have a serious underlying meaning. It could mean drug and alcohol abuse. Addicts go to great lengths to mask the problem and keep their addiction hidden. Here are real questions answered by a real addict. In the following, Dane T. shares his experience:

The Dirty Little Secrets!

1. What alcohol and drugs were easiest to use without your parents detecting it? Drug dealer hiding pills in his pocket

While living with my parents, who didn’t allow drinking and using in their home, I had to be resourceful when it came to getting drunk or high. I found that taking pills such as Xanax and Vicodin were the easiest for me to hide. Pills are small, odorless, and don’t require paraphernalia. I could keep them in my pocket and take them with ease. I chose to drink vodka because I could mix it with Gatorade. I used to leave the Gatorade bottle in a small fridge in my room. That way my parents couldn’t tell that I was drinking alcohol.

2. How did you hide the fact that you were drunk and/or high?

I was always cautious whenever I had to interact with my parents while I was drunk or high. I always used eye drops to hide the fact that I was high. My favorite eye drops were the brand Rohto-V. It worked the best at removing the redness from my eyes. I also kept a bottle of Febreeze in my car to mask the smell of pot smoke. I always chewed mint-flavored gum to cover up the odor of alcohol on my breath. When drunk or high, I made sure to avoid my parents so that they wouldn’t suspect anything. My goal was to have minimal interaction with them. I would briefly check in with them when I got home. This gave them the impression that everything was all right and gave me the ability to disappear into my room.

3. Where did you hide your alcohol and/or drugs while living at home?

As my addiction progressed, I became aware that I had to hide my drugs and alcohol well. Some of my favorite hiding spots were secret pockets in jackets and wrapped in clothes inside my laundry hamper. I once had a small replica of an old-fashioned Coca-Cola dispenser that was hollow. I figured out that I could hide drug paraphernalia inside it. My car was a last resort. At one point I would leave things in the glove compartment or a CD case. Over time my parents began searching my car. Old books also worked well because I could hide drugs within the pages. 

4. Where did you get drunk or high while living at home?

When it came to getting loaded, no place was off-limits for me. My addiction escalated to the point where I felt the need to use any place I could. Still, the bathroom was the safest choice in my house because it had a lock. I would turn on the shower to make it seem like I was using it. When smoking pot I would leave the shower running and pour shower gel into the water to hide the smell. I also used at work in the bathroom. Again, it was a place where I could keep the door locked. Getting high at work was convenient because I was far from my parents and other people that would be able to tell I was high. When all else failed, I would take my car out and find a spot to park and get high.

A parent can’t be everywhere at all times. While searching through your child’s belongings may provide immediate answers to some suspicions you may have, it doesn’t solve the existing problem. What happens when you find something that validates your suspicions? Having an active relationship with your child creates the foundation necessary to provide help when the need arises. Look for the signs of drug and alcohol abuse, but more importantly be someone that your child can come to for help.

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh
    Posted at 14:07h, 25 April Reply

    Hi Alexa and Dane,

    I appreciate this information for parents. When our kids are in the midst of their substance use, parents do the best they can to be on top of the hiding places and to keep informed of their child’s use. It can, however, be quite a challenge when there are often ever changing new drugs and new ways to conceal the use. Reading about Dane’s experience, from someone who has been there, is so helpful, as it gives insights on what to look for in our own child. Thanks so much!

    • Alexa
      Posted at 14:58h, 01 May Reply

      Hi Cathy! Thank you for your response. I can only imagine how exhausting being both a parent and a detective must be. I am glad that this information was helpful!

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