DEA warns parents about new spot teens are storing drugs

Federal law enforcement officials advise parents to check small electronics

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Graphing calculators are doing a lot more than just plugging numbers and plotting graphs these days, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which says some teens are also using the calculators to store illegal narcotics.

DEA's list of common drug hiding places:

But the innocent-looking calculators are often overlooked by parents and school officials, according to News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith.

“A parent is not going to look there, and also if you’re at school and they do a random school search, that’s something they wouldn’t think about searching either,” Smith said.

Graphing calculators aren’t the only electronic devices used to store narcotics, the DEA said. Gaming consoles and even alarm clocks top the list of small electronics used for drug storage.

DEA RESOURCE: Get Smart About Drugs

DEA agents are finding marijuana and other drugs stuffed into battery compartments. But there are signs for which parents can look if they suspect their teen is stashing narcotics in a calculator.

“If (the teens) are carrying it around a lot, especially during a time when they’re not actually doing homework or they don’t normally carry calculators, or if it’s a type of student that is not very studious and not doing a lot of homework, but they seem to be carrying the calculator a lot, that could be a sign,” Smith said.

And if the signs are there, it’s never too late to investigate.

“The best thing to do if you suspect or believe your child may be doing illegal drugs -- and they do use a calculator or anything that has a battery, (then) check it,” Smith said. “Just open it up and check to see if there is anything in there or any residue of an illegal narcotic.”

Oddly enough, the DEA also said teens are using teddy bears and belts to store drugs.

If parents suspect their child is dealing with drug addiction, the DEA offers resources online so parents can find help.

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