Drug Stash Secrets: What Could Be Hiding In Your Child’s Room

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Narcotics officers tell 10TV that kids are finding more items they can use to hide drugs in their home.

Drug abuse can take a life at any age.

Zoey Lockwood’s family still celebrates her birthday each year, even though she died of a drug overdose in 2010.

“She always smiled. She always had a lot of friends, and then when she turned to be a teenager - she was completely different,” says her mother, Susan Bell.

Susan assumed it was Zoey just being an emotional teen. Then by age 14, Zoey started smoking and caring less about her appearance. 

“It never crossed my mind that she would do that,” added Susan.

Susan says she missed the signs that her daughter started doing drugs. When she found a piece of sandpaper in Zoey's room, she thought nothing of it and tossed it in the trash. 

It turned out that out it could have given her a big hint as to what was happening in her daughter's world.

“And I said to her ‘What is a teenage girl doing with sandpaper in your room? Are you doing some home remodeling I don't know about?’ and we kind of laughed it off. She never did say anything,” explained Susan.

What Zoey didn't say, and Susan didn't realize is that sandpaper is used for pills, to sand them down to a powder and snort.  Narcotics agents say parents need to know what to look for and realize that kids can hide drugs in just about anything. 

From Oreo containers, to a hair brush, to even a highlighter – items are being sold with secret compartments.

“You take the cap off and it can write like a real highlighter. However, what you're going to do is pop your back off and there's your pipe,” explained a police expert.

A sunscreen bottle looks real enough. But bought online, it's empty, and a place to hide alcohol. 

“You can easily hide that in your bedroom, hide it in your purse, whatever. It would be a difficult find for law enforcement - let alone mom and dad.”

The items can be handmade, bought online or found at shops around Columbus.  At an Operation Street Smart presentation, officers showed dozens of items. They were teaching parents what to look for and uncovering the creative ways kids hide drugs.

“Had I seen that program, and then found that sandpaper in her room, I would have known to say ‘we need to talk’. Because I had no clue,” said Susan.

Susan believes Zoey's pill use turned to heroin.  

“Everybody was still hoping and praying and I'm looking at this doctor, and I'm going ‘she's gone. She's not coming back’.”

The girl who always smiled when playing with her baby sister died at 19 years old.  And while it's hard to talk about Zoey's death, Susan says she's sharing her story, hoping that other parents will look for the signs. 

“Listen, if you don't think it's in your family, you are blind, because it's in every family.”