WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- An alarming trend among teens is causing great concern among parents and law enforcement. Children are using common household items to hide drugs, transport them to school and in some cases, buy and sell prescription medications that were never intended for them.
Among the items now being used to conceal drugs are soda cans, energy drinks, containers of potato chips, hairspray, and even books.
"I was taken back by it. I was amazed," said Ava Cooper-Davis, the Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. She showed 9NEWS NOW how a can of soda can be transformed into an inconspicuous drug carrier.
"Once you twist the top, it comes loose and in here, we have some marijuana that neatly fits into this can," said Cooper-Davis, removing the bottom of the can, exposing a hidden compartment inside.
We asked parents if they would ever suspect a child would be hiding drugs inside.
"No. Not a chance," said John Swenson, a parent.
"I would not have guessed it in a million years. I would not. I'm surprised," said another parent, Dinesh Seksaria. "Oh, I'm flabbergasted. I really am."
Most parents would be pleased to see their children in possession of a bottle of water. But not the one Cooper-Davis showed us.
"If you twist the top of this, the water bottle comes apart and inside of it, we have prescription drugs," she said.
"This is amazing. It's frightening," added Swenson.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, teenagers are using common items to transport their drugs, including a chapstick that doubles as a pipe.
"Once you open it up and you look in here, it's a mechanism that's used to smoke marijuana," said Cooper-Davis.
A lipstick container conceals another marijuana pipe. Even a Highlighter pen isn't just for homework anymore. Open it up and there's a pipe inside.
"Trying to stay one step ahead of what might be coming along to harm your child I think is an important thing," parent Carol Scott said.
Cooper-Davis showed us how a can of beer can easily hide rocks of cocaine. A can of dog food conceals a large stash of pills.
"It's scary but it's amazing what kids come up with. It's sort of where there's a will, there's a way," said a parent who didn't want to give her name.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is especially concerned about the growing threat of prescription drugs. In most households, prescriptions are stored in unlocked, easily accessible medicine cabinets, providing a treasure trove of pills for your child. And that's given way to so-called 'pharm' parties where teens dump random pills in a bowl at the door, to be shared later on.
"Everyone takes a pill," said Cooper-Davis. "Now you have no idea what pill you're taking. On top of it, alcohol is being taken in combination with that and kids are going to bed and never waking up."
Just as alarming: two in five teens believe there's nothing wrong with taking prescription drugs, because they're prescribed by a doctor, even if they're intended for someone else.
Written by Andrea McCarren
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com