Kids are smart – and if you’re a parent, that means you need to educate yourself more than ever, especially when it comes to making sure they aren’t abusing drugs or alcohol.

That’s the goal of Addiction is Real Denver, which is inspired by a program with the same name based out of St. Louis. It uses a mock bedroom exhibit to teach parents about how kids are hiding drugs in plain sight – and what to look for to make sure they can have an important conversation with their child.

This bedroom will be on display Thursday night at Douglas County High School.

Now at this point, you might be saying to yourself: “thanks for teaching kids how to hide their drugs.”

We asked Allison Strawn, a school nurse consultant for the Douglas County School District, why an exhibit like this doesn’t do that at all.

Allison Strawn demonstrates how drugs could be hidden in batteries. 

Foremost, if kids are using drugs, they already know how to hide them, and there are plenty of other resources on the internet that will tell them how to do just that. So, this exhibit (and this story) is meant for parents to level the playing field, to help ensure they have the same knowledge as their kids.

“A lot of the stuff that we have here is stuff that parents have already found in kids’ rooms, that kids have stated they have used and done in their rooms, that our administration has seen in backpacks and clothing, or student resource officers have told us about,” she said.

Strawn says she hopes the mock bedroom opens up parents’ eyes to what to look for, about how the most inauspicious things could signal a cause for concern, especially if their child is starting to get more withdrawn or struggling in school.

Parents can find additional resources at a Douglas County Substance Use Resource Fair Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Douglas County High School. Admission is free and the Castle Rock Police Department will also be holding a Drug Take Back Event.

These sliders are a look at the exhibit and what’s hidden inside. Move the arrow to see where, exactly, some of the drugs are hidden -- and scroll down for an explanation.


Can’t see it? Click here:

Trash Can

This one might be in obvious, but Strawn says to make sure that if you have concerns, to check your kids' trash can to see exactly what's inside.

Inside the trash can, you'll find empty pill bottles in this simulator. 


Inside of the backpack is a spray paint bottle that could be used for huffing. 

Underneath the carpet

Pull back the carpet and you'll find a baggie of drugs taped to the top. 

Inside the pillow

A pill bottle is hidden inside of one of the pillows. 

Inside the Xbox controller

Those look like normal batteries, but if you unscrew the top, they're actually containers that could contain pills.

The batteries in this Xbox controller aren't batteries at all, but rather cylinders that can hold pills if you unscrew the top. 

Bedside Table

Can’t see it? Click here:

Inside the alarm clock

If you lift the battery cover on the alarm clock, you'll find a stash inside.

The battery compartment of the alarm clock reveals a place to hide drugs. 

Drug use in plain sight

Teens are mixing Skittles, soda and cough syrup to make "Sizzurp."

Teens are combining soda, candy and cough syrup to get high. 

Inside of the drawers

Inside the drawer are some of the components to shoot heroin. 
Inside this drawer are more Skittles and a contraption used to hide the odor of marijuana smoke. 

ClothesCan’t see it? Click here: the hat

The inside of a hat could carry a small stash for drugs. 

Inside of the pockets

Bottle caps in the pocket of a hooded sweatshirt. 

Sewn into a sweatshirt

Drugs placed inside of the bottom of a sweatshirt. 

In plain sightEvidence of drug use is written on this tank top.

This shirt clearly talks about drug use. 

DresserCan’t see it? Click here: the shaving creamOpen up this can of shaving cream and you'll find evidence of drug use inside.

Unscrew the bottom of this shaving cream can to find drug paraphenalia. 

Inside a hair brush, contacts caseIf you unscrew the top of the hair brush and open up the contacts case, you'll find a space to stash drugs.

Both the contacts and hair brush unscrew to reveal places to stash drugs. 

Inside the batteriesThese batteries also unscrew to reveal a secret compartment.

The batteries unscrew to reveal stashes of drugs. 

Inside the bra (no, really)

Strawn says kids are using the underwire of bras to hide drugs. You can also unscrew the scotch roller to find more pills. 

Common items could mean something elseStrawn says the shoelaces could be used as tourniquets and tea light candles are associated with heroin use.

These shoelaces and candles are not what they seem. Both are associated with heroin use. 

DeskCan’t see it? Click here: power strip that's not a power stripThis power strip is not a power strip, but rather has a secret compartment. It's not actually plugged into anything.

Underneath the desk is a power strip that isn't just any power strip. 

This container isn't a containerIt's actually a grinder

This container is actually a grinder. 

The teddy bearThis teddy bear has more than just fluff inside.

This teddy bear has a surprise inside. 

The Pringles canUnscrew the bottom of this Pringles can and you'll find a place to put drugs.

This can of Pringles can hold drugs. 

The mouse This mouse also doubles as a scale.

What looks like a mouse doubles as a scale. 

The Sharpie

This sharpie has a place to put pills. 

Behind the bear

Behind the bear, you'll find a lighter. 

TV StandCan’t see it? Click here: Glade bottle Unscrew the bottom and you'll find a secret compartment.

Unscrew the bottom of the Glade container and you'll find a place to stash drugs. 

More than a fidget spinnerThis could also double as a bottle opener

This fidget spinner doubles as a bottle opener. 

Not just a candle

Drugs are taped underneath the candle. 

Inside the books

This book contains more than a patently bad love story involving sparkling vampires. 

Behind the books

Hidden behind the books? A bottle of Fireball. 

Inside the Sharpie

This Sharpie unscrews to reveal a place where you could hide drugs. 

The top of the Xbox

If you unscrew the top of the Xbox you'll find another place to stash drugs. 

ResourcesThe University of Colorado has the following list of resources about talking to your teen about drugs and alcohol: Above Colorado: list of Colorado drug and alcohol teen programs: on talking to your teens about drugs and alcohol from Denver Health: