Teen's Bedroom Teaches Parents How to Spot Signs of Trouble and Substance Abuse

October 17, 2016 10:28 PM

It's not always easy to know if something troublesome is going on with a teenager.

Especially when it comes to things like drug or alcohol abuse. That's why Hazelden Betty Ford Treatment Program hosted a display of a teen's bedroom, to help parents spot signs of trouble.


The exhibit was held at Central Middle School in Plymouth.  

Parents, coaches, teachers, counselors and anyone who has contact with teenagers was invited to tour the display of what a typical teenager's bedroom looks like.

Clarice Montjoy was interested enough to drive from Minneapolis to the event.  

She stood facing a bed, chest of drawers, a desk and other furniture you'd expect to see in a teen's room.  

She noticed something peculiar on a nightstand: canned whipped cream, "they can use that for huffing, plus the top of the can they can flip it over and use that as a shot glass."  

A discarded apple may look like trash, but in actuality could be a tool to smoke pot.  

Whether it's fruit or any of the other 150 household items, Cendee Palmer with the Hazelden Betty Ford Center says the point is to reveal how resourceful teens can be to get high, drunk or hurt at home, under their parents roof, but in their own room, "if they don't investigate, they're never going to know if there's an issue or not."

In the 2013 Minnesota Students Survey, 22 percent admitted they used alcohol on a regular basis, 13 percent marijuana and 7 percent cigarettes.  

At it's Youth Treatment Facility in Plymouth, Hazelden Betty Force says nearly half the teens admitted for treatment are addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin.

That's why the traveling project encourages parents to learn what to look for and where, "go through your kids stuff, that's not invading their privacy, go through their stuff and you may save their life," according to Montjoy. 

The display heads to St. Cloud, St. Paul and Minneapolis next.  

Organizers say they'll go anywhere in the state, where invited.

The display is called "TOPSECRETPROJECT." 


Beth McDonough

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