Adolescents and drug addiction

Group of children and teenagers (11-14) walking on beach with bicycles and balls

The number of young people with addiction issues in today’s society is astonishing. This is a frightening thing for parents, watching your child slowly kill themselves as well as their future. In some communities recreational drug use among adolescents is unfortunately accepted. Types of new “Designer Drugs” are popular with the young people due to their accessibility. Some of these new drugs are associated with serious psychological issues down the road, especially in adolescents. When one’s brain and body are still growing the use of drugs can impair natural growth and can cause under or over-development.

As stated, these designer drugs are becoming an epidemic in the youth community. Some of the popular ones, whose use runs rampant in elementary and high schools, are Spice and Bath Salts. These are synthetic drugs that are sold as “plant food” or “incense.” Spice, which is known for containing cannabinoids different from THC, causes a much more profound effect than marijuana in the form of visual hallucinations. Some of the serious side effects are psychosis, drug-induced schizophrenia, and mania, all of which can cause auditory hallucinations. Bath Salts are supposed to produce similar effects to cocaine, amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy) and are known to also cause psychosis. These are not FDA approved for any type of therapeutic use and are deemed dangerous. The question would be: How are they legal? The answer: whenever they make a designer drug illegal, a new formula is just created instead.

Another method adolescents use to get high is over-the-counter pharmacy items. Dextromethorphan, or DXM, the active ingredient in most cough syrups, is ingested in dangerously high doses popularly known as “robo-tripping.” With this comes a high risk of Serotonin Syndrome, psychosis, and even death in some cases. Benadryl is another over-the-counter anti-histamine that causes drowsiness is also widely used.

Although the younger generation is looking for legal alternatives this doesn’t exclude them from popular recreational drugs, such as alcohol, prescription narcotics or any other number of substances.

As a parent, what do you do? Some parents purchase their under-aged children alcohol or say, “you can smoke marijuana but that’s it.” Their rationale is that they think they will be safe if they do it at home. Some feel as if they can’t stop their children but don’t want anything bad to happen. This not the right approach. As a parent, you are obligated to teach them right from wrong, good from evil, safe from dangerous. The thought “they are young and having fun” is no longer a substantial argument. The severity of the adverse effects of many of these substances can easily result in serious psychological issues and death. Don’t be afraid to confront the issue or consult a health care professional for help. Showing you child love and helping them learn to love themselves goes a long way.


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