Operation Street Smart arms parents with knowledge

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Would you know what to look for if you suspected your son or daughter was using drugs or alcohol? Operation Street Smart is one way parents are getting those answers before it gets too far into the use that it becomes a life-threatening addiction.

Retired Franklin County Narcotics Officers Michael Powell and Shawn Bain run the interactive drug education program. They decided to go on the road with the training for parents, teachers, social workers or anyone who wants to learn more about the extreme methods kids and teens will go to in an attempt to hide drug and/or alcohol use.

"We've talked to so many parents who tell us it's too late. They'll come up to us and say where were you 10 years ago when my child was struggling with these issues?" says Shawn Bain. "So Now it's the time to get information out. Not to bury our heads in the sand. Not to be embarrassed by stuff. Let's get it out there so everyone knows the answers."

Bain picks up what looks to be a magic marker and screws off the end which reveals a secret compartment that contains a pipe to smoke crack or pot. He shows how similar items like a fake lipstick container or a gum container can either conceal drug paraphernalia or hide drugs.

The key is to know when to start looking for these kinds of items. Michael Powell who is the co-presenter of Operation Street Smart says "When you pick up a phrase or a word that doesn't seem to make sense at the time. You pick up an odor coming from that person at that precise time. You pick up a tiny little item and wonder how it got there. then we need to take a much closer look."