- Unfortunately the frontal lobe of human brains does not fully develop until around age 24. This is the area of the brain which helps us make good decisions. Therefore, children, teens and young adults are not well equipped to have good judgement and are more likely to make impulsive decisions.
- Many teens will drink and drive or get in the car with someone who has been drinking. Here are some stats from MADD http://www.madd.org/statistics/
- Over the years Marijuana has been cultivated to contain more THC. Years ago, it only contained about 1% "active ingredient" and now it can be as much as 25%, therefore it is effects can be much stronger than they used to be.
- Teens may engage in "pharming parties". This is where everyone brings prescription drugs (and probably other drugs too) and they all get tossed into a bowl. They party go-ers and grab a handful of meds and take them. This is a huge problem because not only are they in danger of overdosing and having reactions from mixed meds, but when they go to the emergency room for overdosing, they don't know what they have ingested. This makes it more challenging for the docs to know how to treat them.
- Drinking or smoking or smoking pot is a "gateway" to other drugs. In other words, kids who smoke or drink or smoke pot are more likely to try other more dangerous substances.
- Kids are getting high off meds we keep around the house such as old prescription pain relievers, cold/cough meds, asthma/allergy meds, sleep aids, etc. Only keep what you need in the house and keep meds locked up.
- Kids also "huff" with household items such as propellant in aerosol cans: dust off, shaving cream, reddi whip, etc. They also use volatile chemicals such as paint thinner. This practice is very dangerous because this cuts off oxygen to the brain and can literally result in death the first time it is tried.
- Unfortunately signs and symptoms of drug use such as personality changes are often present in teens regardless of drug use. So as a parent you have to be a detective. Teens hide things in all sorts of weird places and now small safes to hide things are made to look like everyday household items such as soda cans. For other examples check out this website http://www.crookedbrains.net/2009/11/interesting_20.html
- Teens also talk in a "language" we won't necessarily understand. Here are some resources to help you break the code: http://www.urbandictionary.com/ & http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php
- Other things to listen out for are "plant food", "bath salts" and "spice". None of these are they simple substances that their names imply, they are synthetic substances made to get high, not the stuff you use around the house. Here is more info:
Local news story from about a year ago in Raleigh: http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2011/jun/01/5/nc-bans-synthetic-drugs-ar-1082771/
Educate yourself and to help keep your kids safe!!