Drug trailer asks parents to examine their own teens' rooms

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NEW LENOX – The inside of the 8-by-16-foot trailer is designed to look like the typical teenage boy’s bedroom.

“As lifelike as we could make it – including being messy,” Brian Kirk of the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization said Wednesday.

The “Hidden In Plain Sight” trailer is designed to remind parents about hundreds of possible hiding spots for drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The trailer has a bed, dresser and desk. There are posters on the walls and hockey equipment tossed in the corner. But colorful notes throughout the “room” ask observers to notice things such as the large number of water bottles on the dresser, screws missing from the vent and light switch, and why a teen who doesn’t play tennis would have tennis balls in the garbage can.

The trailer, which was unveiled Wednesday at an event at the New Lenox police station, will be taken to community events throughout Will County, where parents can look inside. HERO, Lincoln-Way Christian Church, the New Lenox Police Department and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office each contributed $2,500 toward the trailer. The organizations decided to buy the trailer after viewing a similar display last summer by Grundy County’s No Tolerance Task Force.

The police and state’s attorney’s office contributions came from seized drug funds.

“I thought it was a fantastic idea to take money from drug dealers and put it towards protecting your kids the drug dealers are trying to kill,” State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

Glasgow said almost every day his staff learns of new products available online that appear innocuous but can be used to conceal drugs.

“Anything can be turned into a stash, really,” Glasgow said. “Parents have to understand [your kid’s room] is your bedroom. It’s your house. ... Search it all you want.”

Although identifying drug use is the focus of the trailer, the display also shows signs of other teenage concerns such as alcohol use, cutting and risky sexual behavior. The computer on the desk isn’t necessarily a hiding place for drugs, but viewers may notice the draft of a suicide note on the screen.

“There are questions parents should ask themselves when they see these red flags. ‘What things don’t belong? Why are they keeping this?,’ ” said Paula Goodwin of the No Tolerance Task Force.

For information about bringing the trailer to a community event, call 708-557-8394.