The mock bedroom inside the black 32-foot-long pull-behind trailer looks like many teenage bedrooms — possibly a little neater.

Like many rooms, there are plush animals and pop cans. The little kitchen looks well-stocked with recognizable cans of food and bottles of beverages.

Upon closer inspection many of the items are hollow inside with a stopper on the bottom, similar to a piggy bank.

“We’ve really good responses,” Richard Colsen, Fond du Lac substance use disorder department coordinator, said. “Most people are amazed at how much drug paraphernalia there is and how much can be hidden in plain sight.”

One of the unique items looks like an average outlet until it is pulled out and the empty storage area appears. There are also light switches.

This mobile unit contains a mock kitchen and bedroom with a variety of hiding places for drugs and paraphernalia in plain sight. The educational trailer travels to local events and is free of charge for parents and guardians to come in and test their knowledge. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal
This mobile unit contains a mock kitchen and bedroom with a variety of hiding places for drugs and paraphernalia in plain sight. The educational trailer travels to local events and is free of charge for parents and guardians to come in and test their knowledge. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

The surprises keep coming as parents make their way through the mock setup.

A sweet looking teddy bear is another innocent-looking hiding place.

An empty alcohol bottle might be sitting in the open. Turn it around and it morphs into a pipe for smoking drugs such as marijuana.

“It’s also how to have those hard conversations with youth and how to access the services,” Colsen explained.

The "In Plain Sight" trailer, funded by the Reservation Business Committee, has been making the rounds in Fond du Lac, Cloquet and surrounding communities since 2018. The original plan was to stay in the Fond du Lac community.

“We’ve really gotten this out to a larger audience than we originally anticipated,” Colsen said.

A spoon bent like this is an indication that someone is using it for drug use. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal
A spoon bent like this is an indication that someone is using it for drug use. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

The trailer helps educate caregivers, members of law enforcement and others interested in learning the most current ways for drugs to be hidden in plain sight. Parents, foster care and grandparents who suspect their child may be using drugs can learn about the signs and symptoms to look for. They can also learn about what resources are available, who they can call and when.

“Nobody grows up wanting to be an addict,” Colsen said.

The advent of modern technology makes hiding illegal substances easier for today's youth, as can some substances that are only legal for adults. Most of the items can be ordered online and directly shipped to the home.

The trailer makes the rounds to public events all summer, including powwows, National Night Out and school events.

Colsen said they are in the process of making changes, including adding indicators of potential suicide to help caregivers to be more aware and possibly intervene.

In the near future, Colsen will be implementing Narcan education and training to help residents understand what to expect once Narcan — an opioid drug used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose —has been administered and how to do an intervention.

Colsen was surprised to learn from the surgeon general at a 2019 National Indian Health Board conference that a Narcan intervention is seven times more likely to occur than the need for CPR.

Educational posters and informational pamphlets are set out for parents or guardians to view or take at the "In Plain Sight" trailer. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal
Educational posters and informational pamphlets are set out for parents or guardians to view or take at the "In Plain Sight" trailer. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal