Syringe and spoon found in 16 year old stepdaughters drawer.

(62 Posts)
LittleWhile Wed 26-Mar-14 16:25:38

Yesterday I found a tea spoon and a narrow syringe tucked away in a cosmetic bag in my stepdaughters drawer, when I was tidying the carnage of her bedroom, while she is at her mothers house. I was immediately alarmed and suspect drug use or at least intention of drug use, so I mention it to her Father. He hardly reacts, and then today says there is probably some rational reason for it, and says he will ask her. He doesn't seem at all bothered, and laughs when I mention possible drug use. She has (non) eating issues, anxiety and depression, which lead me to suspect drug use may be a possibility. He sees no reason to be concerned. Today he suggests that she be allowed to "study" at our house while we are away on holiday, next week, which I strongly object to, as I don't feel comfortable letting her have unsupervised access to the house, while we are not there. She says there is too much distraction at her Mothers house caused by her Mum and her brother. I feel she should ask her mum and brother to be quieter, so can study or maybe go to a library! or use earplugs! Her father and I have now had an almighty row because I feel he doesn't listen to me. He says she should be allowed to, and if she messes up, he will deal with it. I'm imagining all sorts going on in my home, while we are away, if she has a key! He doesn't believe she shouldn't be trusted. I feel undermined and as if I'm catastrophising. Am I being unreasonable or over-reacting? I've been a 16 year old girl and I've also had a 16 year old daughter, so I'm basing my reasoning from experience, but I now doubt my own judgement. Help!

I'm struggling to think why someone would have a syringe and a spoon if not drugs - and not your "lesser"
drugs either.

Beastofburden Wed 26-Mar-14 16:30:21

Teaspoon and syringe are not great signs. I think you are right to be worried.

Try to get your OH to see it in terms of risk to his daughter, not in terms of risk to the house. So it/s not that you don't want her on your territory messing the place up. you are worried that she might overdose with no help at hand.

Though of course, the fact that she keeps ehr gear at your place suggests it won't be her first time while you are out of the house hmm

I would go to see your GP and then report back. TBH, if he is already irritated, telling him that MN thinks he is BU won't help much.

BitOutOfPractice Wed 26-Mar-14 16:33:51

I don't think you are over-reacting OP. If I were her dad I would be beside myself with worry

I hope you can talk some sense into him

BettyBotter Wed 26-Mar-14 16:37:29

I'd be very worried about the syringe and spoon. Why isn't your dh concerned? (Is he sticking his head in the sand, naive, uncaring or stupid?) [genuine question]. What rational explanation could there be according to him? From your description of dsd it sounds as though she may be vulnerable to drug 'risks' .

As for her using your house for revision, I'd say ... pick your battles. What's your concern here exactly - her safety or your household security or something else?

If I were on your shoes, I'd be more concerned that my dh appeared to be so blase about his dd's potentially serious issues.

Beastofburden Wed 26-Mar-14 16:41:05

Have you thought of dobbing her in to her mum? she might be worried even if DH isn't. of course that might casuse another massive row... but if her safety is in question.

if I found that my DD had been keeping her drugs gear at her dad's house and nobody told me, I would be terribly upset.

Very worrisome, both your find and your DH's reaction. Can you be there when he talks to her about it?

I would feel uneasy about leaving a 16 year old with unsupervised access to an empty house. It makes no difference whether she is a step or not, it would be the same for any 16 year old.

claraschu Wed 26-Mar-14 16:46:12

My teenager thinks this is very dodgy. Was it a hypodermic syringe? Possibly for injecting something horrible?

What does she say this is for?


Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 16:46:57

Is the bottom of the spoon blackened or discoloured? If so this would definitely show that somebody has used it to cook up a drug with. I'm sorry Little but I find it hard to imagine why else she would have it.

In my opinion., sixteen is too young to be left for a week in sole charge of a house anyway not withstanding the concerns about drugs.

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 16:48:45

Also if it is a 1ml Diabetic syringe, these are generally used by people at the beginning/earlier stages of drug use. If they develop a tolerance and need larger amounts of the drug to get good effect, then the 2ml or 5ml syringes with push on needles will be used.

Selks Wed 26-Mar-14 16:49:25

Did the teaspoon look like it had been burnt or scorched, OP? Have you noticed any small bits of used foil in her room? Did the syringe have a needle attached or look as if it had been used?
Any of the above would indicate strongly hard drug use, which is very concerning.

Selks Wed 26-Mar-14 16:50:52

Why would your DP not be concerned about this? Struggling to understand.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Mar-14 16:51:04

Of course it is for drugs.
It may not be hers, she may be looking after it for someone but its unlikely.

Its quite unusual to go from Not Taking Drugs to Injecting Class As.

I don't know much about 'modern' drugs like legal highs but I was quite involved in stuff in the 80s.

A syringe and a spoon (is it blackened?) meant heroin back then.

You can inject just about anything though so it could be speed.

This is something to be concerned about.

Sorry OP

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 16:52:54

If it is a 1ml syringe it will be one integrated unit with no removable syringe.

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 16:54:15

Posted too soon-

If pills are crushed then you will need a larger syringe and barrel, a 2ml or 5ml and above because 1mls get blocked. The size of the unit is a clue to what it is used for.

Branleuse Wed 26-Mar-14 16:58:01

are there any remnants of anything in the spoon. If so, is it whitish, or is it brownish?

LittleWhile Wed 26-Mar-14 17:04:33

Thanks all! A tricky one this, as DD is the apple of her fathers eye.
The spoon was not burnt or discoloured, but when I googled this I learned that it could be used to mix the contents, not cook them, and to suspect cocaine or speed. So still worried.
I did think about telling her mother, but wanted to let DH know first. I would want to know if I were her mum.
It is a narrow syringe that I bought to feed a baby bird my son found with. I think she took it from the kitchen drawer, there was no needle with it. Why would she have taken it without asking if it wasn't significant? And why the spoon? I would like to be there when her father discusses it with her, but I know it will be traumatic, as she will be outraged at being suspected, wether she is or isn't doing anything untoward. I feel like the wicked step-mother.

NigellasDealer Wed 26-Mar-14 17:06:18

ok so it is sounding a bit different now - a clean spoon and a syringe that was yours, that has no needle?

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 17:09:40

If there is no needle with it and it is a stray so to speak is there any chance that she might be placing this in her belongings to attract somebodies attention?

I had a client who did indeed do this. They did it as a cry for attention and to look more knowing than they were to impress a drug using lad they wanted to attract. This in itself is still worrying because there is a high level of possibility that she will be vulnerable to actual drug use in the future.

eatmydust Wed 26-Mar-14 17:10:51

She's not vaping is she? DS uses a syringe to fill his posh ecig. Although admittedly he doesn't hide it. Some of the expensive ecigs which appear to be the local craze are difficult to fill.

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 17:12:32


Wicked stepmothers don't care enough to post on here asking for help flowers

KellyHopter Wed 26-Mar-14 17:14:18

I think it's more likely attention-seeking/acting out dramatic scenarios, even just on her own, than actual drug use.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Mar-14 17:15:17

Not having a needle is a bit more hopeful and the fact she took it from home rather than bought it into the home.

BettyBotter Wed 26-Mar-14 17:16:30

Perhaps she's at the stage of thinking 'Well fuck'em all. I'll have a go at drugs then,' but hasn't actually stepped over the brink. I hope very much for her sake that you might be able to catch this before she does anything dangerous.

But Littlewhile, seriously, what's going on with her father?

NigellasDealer Wed 26-Mar-14 17:17:55

drug use is so rife these days isn't it?
back in the 70s at that age i had a stash of Cocktail Sobranies and a long cigarette holder, must have used it once?
if that is any help.

Beastofburden Wed 26-Mar-14 17:18:20

If it's the wrong sort of syringe can she even be using it for drugs?

LittleWhile Wed 26-Mar-14 17:21:14

That's what I was thinking Kudz. That sounds like the sort of thing she would do. She is quite needy.
I don't think she is vaping, but I have found receipts for tobacco, lighters and papers in her room. She has had diet pills delivered to our house for a friend, so I know that she covers for her friends in that way which is worrying.
Her Mother will totally flip if I tell her about this and I can predict major fall out.

NigellasDealer Wed 26-Mar-14 17:21:45

these are the syringes that are used for intravenous drug use initially.
if it is a 'dropper' type thing with no needle then you have fewer worries. nonetheless....

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Mar-14 17:23:46

You can use any syringe to inject drugs in theory but she hasn't hidden a functioning syringe of the type usually used for drugs use.
She could be acting out. Testing to see if anyone is paying attention.

It needs addressing. Calmly. It would be a good opportunity for her dad to talk about drug use with her. He shouldn't ignore it.

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Mar-14 17:25:31

It sounds like she and her friends are involved in some level of drug use already (going by your last post).

A bit of weed and pills at least. Kids do drugs, there is no getting away from it.

It needs to be talked about.

LittleWhile Wed 26-Mar-14 17:28:47

It's an 8ml syringe with a plunger. It says "For oral use only" I don't think she has used it, but I think the intention may be there, even if just for a cry for help. This is why I am concerned.

BettyBotter Wed 26-Mar-14 17:28:59

And her father needs to pay some bloody attention. sad

MrsDeVere Wed 26-Mar-14 17:32:14

If its an oral only syringe you won't be able to attach a needle to it (someone can correct me if that is not so).

But she may be smoking weed if she is buying papers and tobacco and those diet pills for a friend sound dodgy.

Dad needs to talk to her.

LittleWhile Wed 26-Mar-14 17:35:48

Thank you Nigellas for link. I'm grateful for all your comments. You have voiced all my concerns and helped me get some perspective. I will report back when DH gets home and we talk some more.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 26-Mar-14 17:37:45

Sorry but what the hell were you doing going through your 16yo STEP daughters make up bag?

You say you were sorting out the carnage of her bedroom but this was tucked away in a drawer?

I have a spoon in my make up bag, I'm not sure how it ended up there but it's been there for years, you bought the syringe and it's a dropper only. You are being ridiculous!

Ihavemyownname Wed 26-Mar-14 17:41:33

If she had problem with food. Speed could be very likely. It could also be a cry for attention/help.
You need to sit and talk to her about or just let her know you've seen it and she can talk to you about it

trambampoline Wed 26-Mar-14 17:42:16

shes probably trying to do some dramatic instagram photo.

Branleuse Wed 26-Mar-14 17:43:25

from what youve since added, it doesmt sound at all suspicious, and youre overreacting

NatashaBee Wed 26-Mar-14 17:52:41

Regardless of the syringe/spoon, I wouldn't be letting her stay alone in the house knowing that she has been complicit in deceiving her friend's parents.

LordPalmerston Wed 26-Mar-14 17:55:43

you know wrt snooping i have done a HUGE volte face on this.
parents SHOULD snoop

LittleWhile Wed 26-Mar-14 18:04:34

Well there is that I suppose, Herrena, and that is what she will say, but while she lives in my home I am responsible for her welfare. I wasn't looking for anything in her room. I do her washing and I tidy up after her. I posted my concerns on here for constructive advice. I don't think I am being ridiculous to be worried about an impressionable teenager getting mixed up in something harmful, but thank you for your comment.

thecatfromjapan Wed 26-Mar-14 18:05:13

I'm a leetle surprised by this.

Injecting drugs is a big step. Long before injecting, you should have seen many warning signs of drug use: erratic behaviour; a change in the circle of friends; a change in socialising; things like money going missing - unless she has access to a trust fund, right now, she is unlikely to be able to afford regular access to hard drugs.

People don't just wake up and decide to buy some cocaine/smack/very pure amphetamine on their way to Tesco, and then inject it. You need a circle to buy it from, use it with, and teach you how to inject safely.

You would see abcesses from bad shots. And they would be pretty visible , because, apart from anything esle, it takes practice to inject neatly.

Basically, you would have had cause for concern for a while now. If this is the first time you have noticed something amiss ...

Also, where is she getting the needles from? They are not easy to come by.

So, if all of the above has been going on - the erratic behaviour; the troubling friends; the theft; the noticeable decline in school attendance and attitude; the changed social life - then, yes, your dh sounds a complete fuck-up.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 26-Mar-14 19:00:16

You tidy up the inside of her make up bag?

It's not even a syringe that's usable for drugs why are you making such a big deal out of it when her father doesn't think it it's an issue?

NigellasDealer Wed 26-Mar-14 19:08:57

i must say if my stepmother had been going through my stuff at the age of 16 i would have been pretty pissed off, alienated even.
not the way to any kind of trusting relationship tbh

eatmydust Wed 26-Mar-14 20:39:13

Just back to the possibility of vaping - wouldn't discount it if you are aware she has bought tobacco and papers in the past. Like others have said if it is hard drugs she would display other behaviours and would need the cash to purchase them. Smoking or vaping as a much cheaper option does seem more likely.

Just asked DS and his friend tells me he uses a syringe and spoon to fill his cartomiser, as without a needle to fill it he drops some of the liquid into the spoon, picks it up with the syringe and then puts it in the ecig. He says it is a common way of filling some types of ecig and not sinister (DSs friend is a police officer!!) Just google filling ecigs with syringes and there are lots of videos and instructions.

Quite agree with you that this needs to be addressed, but please don't jump to the worst case scenario if there is no evidence, she will feel strongly that she has a right to her privacy and you could destroy her trust in you. Sure you don't want her smoking or vaping either, but it's a lower key conversation. Can't say I'm happy about DS vaping in my house, but he is legally old enough to buy cigarettes and smoke and the vaping is much more preferable than the roll ups he smoked before.

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 20:42:35

Needles are very easy to come by. Most chemists offer free supplies and will hand them to anybody who asks for them sixteen and over, no questions. That is the whole point of a needle exchange. They have prominent signs too and teenagers would be aware of them.

There are plenty of users who do go straight onto injecting.

There are plenty of users who don't get abscesses for quite some time. If ever. Clean needles have eliminated some of this risk. Info on how to inject is easily available and it is not hard to learn. Pretty easy in fact.

Most early users don't need to spend much and it doesn't cost a lot. A small amount of a drug will last.

Not all initial and early drug use is accompanied by dramatic behavioural changes. Many of the most 'usual' behavioural changes can masquerade normal adolescence or mimic it. That is why so many cases go undiscovered for quite some time and then their is a physiological dependence alongside the psychological one.

An 8ml syringe is too large for a beginner. They are very very hard to depress the plunger upon whilst maintaining steady hold on a vein- they can collapse it because the suction is too great when you pull back on a plunger to check it is in the vein. One handed it'd be very hard. Also when a barrel gets older, the rubber bung on the depressor becomes stiffer and makes it even harder to depress and pull back on. So highly unlikely she'd use this as a newbie to it. I hope that reassures.

MikeTheShite Wed 26-Mar-14 20:49:53

As shes 16 I have heard recently about buying and injecting or eating of tanning substances. possible long shot

The fact that this syringe is actually a dropper that you bought to feed a bird completely changed the tone of this question and I'm not sure why you didn't state that in your original post if not to be dramatic? Highly unlikely to have anything to do with drugs given the update. I think you shouldn't snoop in future.

BlueStringPudding Wed 26-Mar-14 21:32:53

DD(16) used to take calpol when she had a headache or period pain, as she didn't like swallowing pills, and would either use a teaspoon or syringe type thing that comes with nurofen. could that be an explanation?

It was v annoying as usually meant there wasn't enough for DS when he needed it, and also probably wasn't that effective for her. she has now overcome that, and takes normal pills, but teenagers. can be funny about things like that.

MexicanSpringtime Thu 27-Mar-14 01:25:29

Then again some people use a spoon to curl their eyelashes.

Beastofburden Thu 27-Mar-14 07:58:03

So it seems clear that this syringe isn't plausible as drugs paraphernalia. What we don't know is what it was actually for. As ppl say, if she is acting out, or maybe trying to start on drugs but clueless, it's a worry. If its just a silly selfie, or a party outfit, not so much.

starfishmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 08:20:39

Agreeing with Mrs DeVere.

An oral syringe is designed so that needles cannot be attached to them as a safety feature (so that oral drugs cannot be accidentally injected).

NigellasDealer Thu 27-Mar-14 08:27:31

i think the OP knows that, she just put that thread title to be dramatic and get attention.
like I said, if my stepmother had been going through my stuff at that age, I would be packing my bags.

SweetTeaVodka Thu 27-Mar-14 08:38:01

As others have said, oral syringes cannot be attached to needles so useless for injecting drugs.

I saw a YouTube video where a teenage girl showed how to do eyeliner flicks using the side of a teaspoon as a guide, so if I saw a teaspoon in someone's make up bag I would assume that's what it is for.

TheBeautifulVisit Thu 27-Mar-14 08:47:14

Why are you going through her drawer, and her make-up bag in her drawer?

HoleyGhost Thu 27-Mar-14 08:57:59

I remember a thread here where the OP hid Australia immigration forms in her bedside drawer to freak out her evil MIL who had form for prying.

Your sdd may have done something similar - you have outed yourself as deranged enough to even go through her makeup bag. Maybe your DH was nonplussed as you have form for drama

Kudzugirl Thu 27-Mar-14 09:01:42

Deranged at looking in a make up bag? My stepdaughters and I were constantly in and out of each others make up bags smile.

OhSoVintage Thu 27-Mar-14 09:36:15

Well Im always in my dd's make up bag, she borrows my stuff and I borrow hers. We both annoy each other with it but it all ends up merging into one.
Both me and my dd are disorganised currently in my make up case there is a Rubber, a crayon, paracetomol, glue, iron tablets, the side of my broken sunglasses and a needle (I thought it was tidy smile )

A oral plunger is a plausible item, I have used it for medication for both my girls and have a couple of them in the bathroom. A clean spoon is also an item that seems to appear in our bathroom from time to time and could easily end up in my make up bag if i was using it while getting ready. Have you thought about asking her?

I wouldn't consider looking in a makeup case snooping tbh.
My dd is messy to the extreme and I have to sort through her stuff to help her organise however she has a few drawers/boxes that I know are out of bounds and won't touch. Her make up bag is not one of these places.

I would have thought if it was for drug use she would have a better hiding place and there would be other signs.

Dancingqueen17 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:00:04

She hasn't had any teeth removed recently has she? I used a syringe to irrigate the sockets after having my wisdom teeth removed.

Russianfudge Sun 30-Mar-14 16:11:57

From what youve said about her I think whoever mentioned the dramatic Instagram photo might be the closest! People are right to say if she's injecting then she's been in to drugs for quite a while. It doesn't sound like it's the case.

I don't think you should speak to her about it, rather keep a very close eye. Shame her Dad isn't interested as it shouldn't really fall on you. If worse stuff happens and he still turns a blind eye you may just have to detach sad

For what it's worth my step daughter and I go in each other's make up bags all the time. She wouldn't bat an eyelid. She also has tea spoons in lots of weird places because she takes them to school for yogurts then secretes them.

cassee Mon 31-Mar-14 22:09:43

If it's in her makeup bag, I suspect she uses it to mix her makeup. Seriously. I use a syringe for that and a small bowl, not a spoon, to crush and mix eyeshadows to create different shades and put them on wet (hence the syringe, for water or makeup remover) which is often better. I also use the syringe and bowl to mix foundations together.

Kudzugirl Tue 01-Apr-14 09:04:34

It isn't correct to assume that injecting = longer use.

There are plenty of users who go pretty much straight onto injecting. I have worked with enough of them. They might have smoked dope for a while but many of them don't progress from smoking, say Heroin to injecting it. For many it is a matter of economics.

So many assumptions about drug use are incorrect.

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