By David Highfield

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Is it possible your kids or another loved one is hiding drugs right in front of your eyes?

Drug users often find hiding places you might never expect.

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A young woman being treated at Gateway Rehab in Beaver County agreed to share with us some of the places she hid drugs in her room. She used everything from marijuana, to prescription pills, to cocaine, to heroin.

One place she hid drugs from her mother was inside pop cans.

“It was a can that felt like a regular can. But really, if you would unscrew the top of it, there was like a little compartment, and I hid my cocaine, my marijuana,” said the young woman who wishes to remain anonymous.

A folded pair of socks was another hiding spot for her.

She says she would also rip out the padding of her jewelry box “and keep my pills underneath my padding, and just put the padding back in with my rings on top of it.”

It was a jewelry box she shared with her mom, but her mother had no idea.

“They have highlight pens that have a hollow inside,” said Dr. Neil Capretto from Gateway Rehab. “I have seen cellphones with fake compartments in.”

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“Another place the kids will hide them is in the parents’ car because they think parents aren’t going to check their own car,” Capretto said.

Experts say parents should educate themselves on what they’re looking for.

Dr. Capretto tells the story of one local couple who didn’t know what they found in their son’s room: “We discovered he has a new hobby because we found these little blue bags, stamp bags next to his underwear. We think he’s collecting stamps.”

But Dr. Capretto told them: “He’s not collecting stamps. Your son is doing heroin.”

For the young woman who agreed to talk to KDKA for this story, she says she finally hit rock bottom and then pleaded for help. She says drugs are behind her now, and she wants to help others.

“My mom probably could have saved me a lot earlier if I was honest,” she said, “and she snooped a little bit more.”

Dr. Capretto advises: “If you have any concerns about drug use, I strongly advise parents to search their room, even if they’re a little upset. It’s better that they get a little upset than you cry their funeral.”

Experts say to look for changes in behavior, a drop in grades, and if your child suddenly has a new circle of friends.

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David Highfield