In October of 2016 I had the opportunity to go to one of KSAAT’s Hidden In Plain Sight events. I knew ahead of time that it was going to be an interactive experience where they set up a mock teenager’s bedroom and ask you to find different items that signal substance abuse or destructive behavior. What I didn’t know was how incredibly eye-opening it would be.
There were about twenty of us there. We split into two groups, one heard the stats about substance abuse while the other got to search the room, then we switched. The stats alone can be a little shocking, at first, but when you look at a screen with numbers, it’s just numbers. When you actually get into the bedroom and start looking around… things get real.
I don’t have any teenagers but I work with students who tell me that, if they wanted to use drugs, they know exactly how they would get them and what they would do to hide it. I always thought it was a little unrealistic to say that, maybe even boastful. Hidden In Plain Sight showed me that they weren’t joking. The amount of ingenuity used to disguise these habits is incredible. It’s literally at their fingertips! Things I would have never guessed, things I knew were odd but couldn’t put a finger on why… it was very revealing.
Some of the parents who attended the meeting I went to were able to get their questions answered and a few even got help from the group on what to do with their teen. There were even law officers there, answering legal questions that came up. They were so helpful!
I’m so glad that KSAAT hosted these events. I’m even more glad to know that they are willing to host them for anyone who wants to learn more. They go into schools and other organizations that work with teens to show them how to look for the signs of substance abuse.
There are two sides to every story. There is a beginning, and there is an end. Both Sides tells the stories of substance use disorder and recovery from both sides: prevention and treatment.