While many of the drugs that were popular with youth when you were a teenager have maintained their popularity, there are new drugs that you may not be aware of. Many young people are abusing drugs that are unexpected and more readily available, such as cough syrup, solvents, and cleaning agents. In order to be prepared for preventing drug use in the home and
confronting abuse, parents need to know what drugs our children face, how they are used and how teens refer to these illicit substances.
While drug use amongst young people overall is on the decline, the numbers are still startling. For instance, according the Monitoring the Future Survey, 16.5% of eighth graders in 2005 admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lives. Likewise, the percentage of eighth graders who admitted to use of inhalants, amphetamines, alcohol and tobacco at least once in their lifetimes were, respectively, 17.1%, 7.4%, 41.0% and 25.9%. Young teens are most interested in drugs that are easily obtainable and do not cause life-threatening side effects—at least according to the misinformation they have received.
For more information on drug trends among teens, the following section provides detailed facts on types of drugs, slang terms, side effects and warning signs. With this information in hand, you are better prepared to take action against the drug abuse, if any, that is occurring in your home.
Drug Types Most Commonly Used By Children and Teens:
3. Club Drugs
Popular Drug Trends ~ Stimulants
Stimulants are a classification of drugs that are identified by their tendency to speed up brain activity and other bodily functions. Since use of stimulants such as cocaine causes the blood vessels to narrow, heart failure is a great risk for users. These drugs can be taken in capsule or tablet form, snorted, smoked or injected.
Types of Stimulants
Amphetamines are made synthetically in a laboratory and are taken to treat conditions such as narcolepsy, ADHD and as an appetite suppressant. Even though there are legitimate, medical uses for amphetamines, they are often abused on the street for the high they produce.
Methamphetamine is a type of amphetamine in a clear crystal form that can be easily dissolved in water or alcohol. People from all walks of life have been known to abuse this drug as it is made
of inexpensive and easy-to-find ingredients.
Cocaine is obtained from the leaves of the cocoa plant and can make users feel euphoric and elated. It can be taken in powder form for snorting and crystal form for smoking. While it was historically used as an anesthetic, it is now an illegal substance that is highly addictive and damaging to the human body.
Methylphenidate or MPH is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy and brain injury but has been known to be abused for its affects as a stimulant.
Effects of Stimulants
Stimulants can cause a wide variety of side effects and symptoms including increased heart rate and blood pressure, euphoria, talkativeness, anxiousness, elation and heart failure.
Common Slang Terms for Stimulants
Amphetamines: Amp, bennie, blue boy, Christina and jolly bean. Methamphetamine: Speed, Ice, Chalk, Crystal, Crank, Fire and Glass. Cocaine: All-American Drug, candy cane, crack, perico and snort.
Popular Drug Trends ~ Steroids
Anabolic steroids are a type of drug that is taken typically by athletes in order to increase muscle size and overall athletic performance. These drugs do, in fact, increase muscle size, but the side effects are alarming and indicative of how damaging they can be to the human body. Even more disturbing is that in a 2004 study conducted by NIDA, 3.4% of high school seniors admitted to
using steroids at least once in their lives.
Types of Steroids
Primobolan, Anatrofin, Bolasterone, Deca-duabolin, Delatestryl, Dep-testosterone, Dihydrolone, Durabolin, Dymethzine, Enoltestovis, Methatriol, Quinolone, Therobolin, Trophobolene, Anadrol, Anavar, Maxibolin, Methyltestosterone, Proviron, Winstrol, Abolic, Dianabol, Equipose, Finajet/finaject, Parabolin, Winstrol V
Effects of Steroids
Steroids have an adverse affect on bodily organs and are known to cause high blood pressure, acne, shrunken testicles, facial hair growth and a deepened voice in women, and breast development in men. These drugs can also prematurely halt development in teens and cause increased levels of aggression. Some of the more serious consequences of abusing steroids include heart attack, high cholesterol, and liver cancer.
Common Slang Terms for Steroids
Pumpers, Juice, Arnolds, Gym Candy, Stackers, Weight Trainers.
Popular Drug Trends ~ Club Drugs
Club drugs are a class of substances taken by teens and young people at all-night parties or “raves.” These drugs allow party-goers to dance all night long with increased endurance and stamina, while experiencing a whole host of effects from euphoria to altered sensory perception. Other club drugs act as sedatives, allowing for “date rape” situations.
Types of Club Drugs
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA acts as a stimulant but also has mind-altering affects. It is typically used at all-night dance parties to produce increased stamina and is taken in tablet form.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate or GHB is often taken in tablet or capsule form and is used in “date rapes.” Many times, a tablet can be slipped into an unsuspecting person’s drink at a party, causing them to pass out and be taken advantage of.
Ketamine is a central nervous system depressant and has similar effects to PCP. It acts as an anesthetic that can be injected, smoked or snorted. While sold legally for both animal and
human use under a prescription, only around 10% of these prescriptions are intended for human consumption.
Rohypnol is a sedative, although not a legal one in the United States. It is often used to facilitate sexual assaults or “date rape” due to the impairing effects of the drug.
Effects of Club Drugs
The effects of club drugs can vary widely, as the different types cause different reactions. MDMA can cause anxiety, depression, confusion, paranoia, increased blood pressure, nausea, hyperthermia, stroke, kidney failure and memory loss. Rohypnol acts as a sedative and muscle relaxant and can cause confusion, drowsiness and decreased blood pressure. Higher doses can cause loss of consciousness and amnesia. GHB can cause drowsiness, nausea and even coma.
It has also been used in cases of date rape and poisonings, some of which have resulted in death.
Common Slang Terms for Club Drugs
MDMA: Ecstasy, XTC, X, Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed.
GHB: G, Liquid Ecstasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Georgia Home Boy.
Ketamine: Special K, K, Vitamin K, Cat Valium.
Rohypnol: Roofies, Rophies, Roche, Forget-me Pill.
Popular Drug Trends ~ Narcotics
Narcotics refer to drugs derived from opium or opium synthetics. Narcotics are probably one of the easiest drug types to be detected by drug screening tests as most can screen for opiates. The primary use of narcotics is as a pain reliever and are often abused for their ability to create a sense of calm and relaxation. They are taken orally, through skin patches, or by injection.
According to the 2004 Monitoring the Future study, 1.6% of 8th graders admitted to using heroin at least once in their lifetimes.
Types of Narcotics
Heroin is a very dangerous drug and often administered intravenously, making users more prone to contracting diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV. Heroin is processed from morphine and appears either white or brown in powder form.
Opium is the direct substance obtained from the poppy plant. It is brown in color and has a bitter taste in liquid form. While it is processed for use in many prescription pain relievers, it is highly addictive.
Morphine is prescribed as a powerful analgesic and can relieve intense pain. Oftentimes, a patient who is prescribed the drug develops tolerance, dependence and even addiction to it. Morphine is also obtained illegally through false prescriptions and street markets.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that while producing many of the same effects as morphine and heroin, is very different chemically. This substance is primarily used in a prescription drug format
as a means of weaning heroin addicts off of the drug. It is also, however, found on the street and many people use methadone itself to get high.
Effects of Narcotics
Heroin causes intense euphoria, clouded mental capacity and alternating states of wakefulness and drowsiness. Addicts many eventually develop liver disease, lung problems and collapsed veins due to the intravenous nature of the drug. Opium, while relieving pain, also provides a sense of wellbeing, stupor and is very addictive very fast. Morphine slows mental functioning, creates a sense of euphoria and can cause lethargy, blurred vision, lack of appetite and constipation. Use has also been linked to insomnia and nightmares. Methadone can last in a person’s system for a long time, making it the ideal method of beating a heroin addiction.
However, it can produce a sense of euphoria, drowsiness and other effects similar to both heroin and morphine.
Common Slang Terms for Narcotics
Heroin: Speed Smack, H, Ska, junk, rain, snow, kabayo and Karachi. Opium: Auntie, dream gum, dream stick, mira, gondola, pen yan and tar. Morphine: dreamer, goma, miss emma, morphina and mary.
Methadone: Amidone, fizzies, glass and dollies.
Popular Drug Trends ~ Depressants
Depressants, or more accurately, central nervous system depressants, are also often referred to as sedatives or tranquilizers because of their ability to slow down the CNS and other bodily functions. They are often used to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders. In 2001, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reported that 3.3% of children between the ages of 12-17 admitted to using tranquilizers or sedatives at least once in their lifetime.
Types of Depressants
Barbiturates are available by prescription often for sleep disorders under the brand names Nembutal, Seconal, Luminal and Amytal. They are often used as an anesthesia, for treating insomnia, seizures or for preoperative sedation.
Benzodiazepines are used to treat milder cases of insomnia, anxiety and as a relaxant prior to anesthesia. It is given intravenously or in an oral syrup. They can also be used as anticonvulsants. These drugs can become addictive wherein tolerance and dependence develops. Some brand names include Xanax, Valium, Doral and Restoril.
Effects of Depressants
Depressants relieve anxiety, relax muscles and can make users feel drowsy. Breathing is slowed as well as heart rate. Abusers of CNS depressants may experience confusion, inability to control limbs, impaired judgment, slowed reflexes, slurred speech, depression and/or euphoria.
Common Slang Terms for Depressants
Downers, Yellow Jackets, Ludes, Barbs, Blue devils, rainbows, green dragons, peanuts, knockout drops and goofballs.
Should you discover your teen is using drugs, there are many ways to go about putting a stop to it. Intervening now is the best way to end your child’s drug use and get them the help they need. While it is certainly a difficult situation to navigate, stepping in and helping your child beat their drug problem is the first step in the right direction.
Staging an intervention is the first step to helping your child combat a drug problem or addiction. It doesn’t have to be formal or a huge gathering of the family. Rather, an intervention may be most effective when only close relatives and friends attend. It can be as simple as calmly stating you do not want him to use drugs and explain why this is the case. Some important things to
keep in mind include:
- Be Open Minded: While you certainly have every right to be upset about your child using drugs, don’t jump to conclusions. Remaining calm and collected, yet still expressing your feelings about the matter helps your teen see that you are serious and truly wish to help.
- Show Compassion: This is your child we’re talking about here. You love them more than life itself—let them know it! Everyone makes mistakes, and while abusing drugs is certainly serious, don’t compromise your love for your child over it. Try to understand his side. Don’t condone drug use, but don’t disown him for it, either.
- Avoid Angry Confrontation: Screaming through the house to get your point across never helped anyone. Rather than being confrontational and accusing your child of all sorts of unsavory behavior, step back for a moment, take a deep breath and stay calm. You’re the adult here.
- Listen: After confronting your teen about her drug abuse, take the time to listen. Most of the time, there are deep-seated psychological issues at the heart of drug abuse. Hear what your child has to say and talk him through this difficult moment.
Seeking Outside Help
If after repeated attempts to discuss drug abuse with your son or daughter fails, bringing in outside help may be most beneficial. Denial is often a major problem for people with substance abuse problems, whether teens or adults. If they deny using drugs or alcohol, you may want to have them evaluated by a healthcare professional. Remember to show concern for your child’s condition—don’t make this doctor’s visit seem like a punishment.
After the evaluation, it may be discovered that she is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Now is the time to act. There are many treatment facilities all over the country and it should be fairly easy to locate one that suits your child’s current needs.
Seek out other parents that have been through the same situation. It may seem like the end of the world to find that your child is using drugs, but getting them on the first steps toward recovery can be the best gift in the world.