Teenage Drug Use
Teenage drug use is an uncomfortable subject for many. However, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2007; 12.4 million youths ages 12 and older used MDMA (Ecstasy) at least once in their lifetime. For more information on this study please visit https://www.samhsa.gov/ . These statistics demonstrate that we need to educate ourselves on drugs of abuse and what drug issues teenagers face. We will start by exploring what is commonly known as “club drugs.”
The term ‘Club Drugs’ is used to signify a group of drugs initially used by individuals at night clubs or ‘raves.’ Although these drugs of abuse are now used in a variety of places, the referenced category has not changed. It would be naïve to assume that because a teenager does not attend clubs that they will not be exposed to them. The drugs of abuse that make up this group discussed in this article are Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA (usually known as Ecstasy), Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine.
- MDMA-is a stimulant and a hallucinogen that comes in pill or tablet form. Often there is a stamped character on the pill such as an X, a heart, cartoon character, or a familiar product logo. These stamps are dangerous because they allow the drug to appear harmless because of the carefree pictures placed on them making them appear as candy. There are hundreds of different types of stamps that are used.
- Rohypnol-is a benzodiazepine which is a central nervous system depressant.
- GHB-is a central nervous system depressant. This drug most commonly comes in a liquid form, but can come in a powder form as well
- Ketamine-is a dissociative anesthetic, which means it blocks the messages of sensory perception to the brain.
It is wise to educate ourselves on the street or slang names of these drugs of abuse. These listed are among the most popular:
- MDMA: Ecstasy, XTC, X, E, Adam, Go, and the Love Drug. Often, they are known by what is stamped on the pill such as popular symbols, cartoon characters or logos.
- Rohypnol: forget-me-drug, date rape drug, and roofies.
- Ketamine: Special K, Vitamin K, and Kit Kat.
- GHB: liquid Ecstasy, Gib, and Georgia Home Boy.
It is wise to look at the effects of club drug use. This information may be helpful in identification of someone who may be using as well as topics to discuss with a medical doctor or counselor. These effects are a generalized list and should not be held as an absolute. Drugs of abuse may increase the chances of the development of a drug induced mental health disorder and an addiction. In addition, drugs such as MDMA are often mixed with other known and sometimes unknown substances, which increase the dangers of side effects.
- MDMA’s effects include euphoria, increased sensory perception, and decreased inhibitions. Some of the side effects include, but are not limited to increased heart rate and blood pressure, dehydration, hyperthermia, seizures, convulsions, and death.
- Rohypnol’s effects act as any central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Effects can include a sense of euphoria, drowsiness, and lowered inhibitions. Some of the side effects may include loss of consciousness, nausea, breathing difficulties and death especially when mixed with other CNS Depressants.
- GHB’s effects are similar to Rohypnol due to the CNS Depressant nature of the drug.
- Ketamine’s effects include decreased sensory perception due to the anesthetic chemical properties. Also a user may experience hallucinations or inability to recall. Ketamine like the other club drugs has a chance of overdose and death.
What to Do
Education regarding club drugs of abuse and their effects is a proactive way of preventing use.
If you suspect club drug use by a teenager there is help available. There are self-help groups such as Al-Anon, Alateen and Narcotics Anonymous that are in your communities and online at https://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ and https://www.na.org/ . There is also the option of Chemical Dependency Counseling or seeking medical advice from a family practitioner. The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service is available at https://csat.samhsa.gov/ or at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The bottom-line is that there is help available. Teenagers should not face these issues alone.
For more information visit: https://www.nida.nih.gov/index.html .
This post is part of the series: Teenagers: Drugs of Abuse
Teachers, Counselors or Parents STOP and read this series on teenagers and drugs commonly abused. Educate yourself on these drugs of abuse, short-term and long-term consequences of use and where to turn for help.