Teen Drug Use: Is Your Teen Using?

As a parent of two teens myself I know that worrying about teen drug use is always on your mind. It doesn’t matter what your social standing in life is or your race or religion. The temptation and easy availability of drugs is out there for your teen. They can get drugs and even use them without you knowing anything about it. Unless you stay active in your child’s life and monitor who, where, what and when then you can probably figure your teen at one time or another will experiment with drugs and/or alcohol, or worse become addicted to them.

Peer pressure can get a child into drugs they want to feel like everyone likes them so if there friends are doing it and try and get them to then the temptation to do what there friends are doing might make them give in. So we has parents need to monitor who they hang out with and try and supervise those they hang with.

Other times a teen who is abused or who has a horrible home life may use drugs to try and escape even for a minute the life that surrounds them. They may not have anyone to turn to for guidance and advice that’s where teachers, other family members, counselors or even neighbors come in. If you suspect a child you know is doing drugs and has no one to turn to then do what you can to guide them into making better decisions.

What a teen does not understand is the damage they are causing to themselves. There brains are not fully developed yet and they are destroying little parts of there brains every time they use drugs or alcohol. Also many of the drugs our kids are using today can cause death the very first time they use them.

There are signs you can watch for if you suspect your child is using drugs. Has your teen had a recent change of friends? Have they become careless with there grooming? Have they lost interest in activities or sports they use to enjoy? Have they been missing school? Have there grades started to decline? Do they seem guilty when you ask them about there whereabouts? Have you found drug paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, etc? Bottles of eyes drops use to disguise bloodshot eyes or diluted pupils?

Ok so now you’re thinking well I suspect my child is using drugs what do I do now?
Well you need to confront your teen but you need to do it in away as to help them not drive them further into the abuse.

Make a plan. Before you engage your teen in a conversation, you’ll need to prepare yourself. Go for a walk, sit where you can’t be disturbed, and think. Reflect on the facts of the situation. Try to avoid negative feelings of anger and betrayal-as they won’t be useful to you in this conversation and may result in your child tuning out. Organize your thoughts. Decide what you want to say to your teen. Think about what resources you might need: a counselor, your faith leader, a school counselor, etc. Keep a dated journal of your feelings, discussions, and progress so that you can begin to identify a pattern of behavior.

Present the facts. Set the tone wisely. Open the discussion with a statement of your love and concern for your teen. You could begin with a statement of the facts as you know them: you found drug paraphernalia in their room; your teen has violated curfews; their grades have slipped; your teen has changed from being a “good kid” to someone who is getting into trouble at home, or school, or in the community; or simply, you have noticed your teen has become quiet, secretive and has changed from the kid you used to know.

After presenting the facts as you see them, ask your teen for his/her response to the information you’ve presented. Listen to your teen. Hear what he or she is saying. Try to determine if the problem is beyond your ability to help and therefore need to bring in a professional.

The next step is to discuss the shared information. This may be the most difficult part, as the tendency for both you and your teen will be to respond angrily to each other. Don’t accept flimsy excuses. Be steady and consistent in your approach. Don’t get lulled into “looking the other way” because it’s easier. Know that you are doing the right thing.

Firmly and warmly make it very clear that you will not tolerate drug or alcohol use by your teen. Identify the consequences if they do use. Some parents find it hard to set down clear rules. For these parents, it might help if they commiserate with their teen. For example, “I know it’s difficult that I have to make these rules. But I wouldn’t be a good parent to you if I didn’t take care of your safety and make them.”

Reward Good Behavior. Let your teen know that you will be holding him/her accountable for his/her actions-and that there will be consequences for not following the rules such as loss of privileges or restricting their curfew. Also consider offering incentives or rewards. for doing something right.

Don’t be surprised if your teen gets up and walks away in anger. Let everyone cool down and prepare to have the conversation again. Some ways your teen may try to deflect the conversation are by saying: “Why are you making this such a big deal. Everybody does it.” “That’s not my stash; I was just holding it for a friend.” “I only used once; I don’t hang out with those kids any more.” No matter what they say, calmly remind them, that nothing excuses your teen from using drugs or alcohol.

Do you know the drugs that are available to your teen? Do you know the effects they have on the human body? Do you know what information to give your teen? I am going to list some of drugs used by teens today and what they do to your teen’s body and brain.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among youth today and is more potent than ever. Marijuana use can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning, and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person’s development. Getting high also impairs judgment, which can lead to risky decision making on issues like sex, criminal activity, or riding with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Teens that use drugs are five times more likely to have sex, than teens who do not use drugs. Getting high also contributes to general apathy, irresponsible behavior, and risky choices. Marijuana can also hurt academic achievement and puts kids at risk for depression and anxiety. Kids use marijuana far more than any other illicit drug. Among kids who use drugs, 60 percent use only marijuana.

Club drugs are being used by young adults at all-night dance parties such as “raves” or “trances,” dance clubs, and bars. MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, methamphetamine, and LSD are some of the club or party drugs gaining popularity. Club drugs can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, even death. Used in combination with alcohol, these drugs can be even more dangerous. Because some club drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, they can be added unobtrusively to beverages by individuals who want to intoxicate or sedate others. In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of club drugs used to commit sexual assaults.

Adam,” “ecstasy,” or “XTC” on the street, is a synthetic, psychoactive (mind-altering) drug with hallucinogenic and amphetamine-like properties. Its chemical structure is similar to two other synthetic drugs, MDA and methamphetamine, which are known to cause brain damage. MDMA can make people trust each other and can break down barriers between therapists and patients, lovers, and family members. Many problems users encounter with MDMA are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine. They are: Psychological difficulties, including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia during and sometimes weeks after taking MDMA (in some cases, psychotic episodes have been reported). Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease. Recent research findings also link MDMA use to long-term damage to those parts of the brain critical to thought and memory. It is believed that the drug causes damage to the neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons.

One category of products sometimes abused by teenagers that few parents know about is OTC cough and cold remedies. The OTC cough and cold medications available in your local pharmacy, supermarket or convenience store are safe and effective when used as directed. But some youth are drawn to an ingredient found in nearly half of these medications called dextromethorphan, or DXM. When taken in excessive doses, dextromethorphan can produce a high or cause psychoactive effects.

Dextromethorphan is a cough-suppressing ingredient in a variety of OTC cold and cough medications. It is found in more than 125 OTC products and comes in various forms, most commonly in cough suppressants in caplet or liquid form.

Depending on the dose, DXM’s effects vary. Misuse of the drug creates both depressant and mild hallucinogenic effects. Users report a set of distinct dose-dependent “plateaus” ranging from a mild stimulant effect with distorted visual perceptions at low does to a sense of complete dissociation from one’s body. If a child consumes large doses of a product containing dextromethorphan, it may cause a number of adverse effects, including impaired judgment and mental performance, loss of coordination, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes, dissociation, and hallucinations.

Another major concern is the risk incurred when abusers get high and engage in activities requiring reasonable judgment and quick reactions, like driving or swimming. The effects induced by overdose of DXM can make these activities deadly.

You should be concerned if you notice that your child is taking excessive amounts of a cold and flu remedy, or if he or she continues to take medicine even after symptoms have subsided. Likewise, if cough and cold medications seem to disappear from the medicine cabinet or if you find packages of cough and cold preparations in the child’s room or backpack, he or she may be abusing the product.

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. Methamphetamine is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine are greater. Both drugs have some medical uses, primarily in the treatment of obesity, but their therapeutic use is limited.

Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as “speed,” “meth,” and “chalk.” Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as “ice,” “crystal,” and “glass.”

Methamphetamine releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. It also appears to have a neurotoxic effect, damaging brain cells that contain dopamine and serotonin, another neurotransmitter. Over time, methamphetamine appears to cause reduced levels of dopamine, which can result in symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease, a severe movement disorder.

Methamphetamine is taken orally or intranasally (snorting the powder), by intravenous injection, and by smoking. Immediately after smoking or intravenous injection, the methamphetamine user experiences an intense sensation, called a “rush” or “flash,” that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Oral or intranasal use produces euphoria – a high, but not a rush. Users may become addicted quickly, and use it with increasing frequency and in increasing doses.

Methamphetamine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other effects of methamphetamine include respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, and extreme anorexia. Its use can result in cardiovascular collapse and death.

Don’t forget you are the parent and you are trying to make sure your child’s lives for a long time and you want them to live a good productive life so do whatever it takes to stop there drug use. You have the right to spy on them, drug test them and yes if necessary even admit them in a rehab place. They may hate you for what they think is destroying there life, but in the long run they will understand and be thankful you were a loving parent and stepped in when you had to and most important they will be alive and healthy.

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