Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

COLLIN COUNTY (CBS11) – It can be unnerving to imagine that an innocent looking room of a teenager might well be a room filled with dangerous drugs and paraphernalia – if you know where to look.

“We (parents) are two steps behind,” says Carrie Stevens, substance abuse counselor in Collin County. “If a kid wants to get high, they’ll get high.”

Stevens says parents need to be a detective in their own home.

A benign soda can, lipstick or even an innocuous highlighter can all be drug paraphernalia if you know what you’re looking at.

Nick is a former addict who got hooked at 14.

“I’ve hid it from people that should have known,” he says. He hid weed and other drugs in board games and behind light switches.

“I use to smoke codeine,” says Brady, another young man who was addicted to prescription drugs at a very young age. “I would hide codeine in a Visine bottle”

Benjamin says he hid drugs behind the vent plate in his room. “I found that you could unscrew a vent plate, take it off and hide things.”

They’re all recovering drug addicts, who spoke to CBS 11 News because they want to get the message out. They’re all on a path to recovery.

While drugs like cocaine, K2, heroin and others are used in small quantities. Blue, the oldest in the group says marijuana or grass is the most difficult to hide because of the quantity required to be high and the odor. “Everything but grass is simple to hide, you couldn’t hide it anywhere,” he says.

But, Stevens says, kids have come up with ways to disguise even that.
“A student told me he put his marijuana in a protein shake,” she told CBS 11. “The protein powder disguises the smell.”

Carrie showed us a table full of paraphernalia- some were very obvious, but some looked very innocent.
“It looks like lipstick,” she says showing a lipstick. But once you open it, it looks like a one- hit pipe.”

A simple highlighter becomes a deadly pipe when you unscrew the back.
A soda can with a false bottom becomes a great place to hide stash.
And a 16 oz dog food can be unscrewed to reveal a great container to hide drugs
None of this would raise suspicion if they were lying around in a teenager’s room.

The Plano Police Department seized some of this paraphernalia from homes in Collin County.

Sergeant Courtney Pero is in Plano’s Narcotics Unit. He says he’s amazed at how creative teens get these days.

“I do this for a living and many things surprise me,” he says.

He says hollowed out pens, extra straws in the bedroom, random spoons, everything can be a suspicious item if you have a reason to believe that your kids are doing drugs.

He says it is important for parents to know what each drug looks like. The date rape drug GHB looks like water. “This looks like water sitting in your kids room.” Ecstasy can look like dog food. Most recently he found a piece of blotter paper, soaked with drugs inside of an ink pen. “You had to disassemble the ink pen to find it.”

Both Stevens and Sergeant Pero warn that finding a spoon or a straw in your teen’s room is not reason enough to be panicked. Parents need to be aware of their child’s behavior, school grades, friends teens hang out with. They’re all important factors in determining if your child is on drugs.
If you have any reason to suspect, it just might be time to be a detective in your own home.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)