Illegal Drugs

Drugs: The dangers of “having fun.”

There’s a lot of pressure on kids today—to perform well in school, to excel at sports, to get into a good college. There’s also a lot of pressure for kids like you to experiment with alcohol and drugs. You’ve probably already been offered a drink of alcohol at a party. Or maybe a friend wanted you to try marijuana or some other drug.

They may tell you it’s harmless to have a beer or a hit off a joint—that it’s no big deal. But before you decide they know more about it than you do, it might be a good idea to find out the real facts. When you know the facts, it’s easier to make a decision that’s right for you, and not one made because of peer pressure.

Kids today are trying alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants and even abusing over-the-counter drugs. And sometimes it might feel like “everyone’s doing it.” The fact is nine out of 10 students in Weld County don’t do drugs. And fewer kids drink alcohol than you think. It’s time to arm yourself with information and make your own choice.

If you have questions, ask your parents, or a trusted friend or adult. Do research on the internet. There are lots of ways to get the information you need in order to make important decisions about your life.

Spice/Synthetic Marijuana

Spice is a mixture of herbs that is marketed as a “legal” alternative to marijuana, even though it is labeled as “not for human consumption.” It consists of dried, shredded plant materials and manmade chemicals that cause mind-altering effects. It’s commonly referred to as K2, Fake Weed, Yucatan Fie, Skunk and Moon Rocks.

For the past few years, it’s been available through head shops, gas stations and online distributors. Because it has a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit, the DEA has made it against the law to sell, buy or possess. It is the second most popular drug among high school seniors, next to marijuana. Some Spice products are sold as incense, but it looks like potpourri. Spice is usually inhaled or prepared as an herbal tea for drinking.

Symptoms:

Many users report experiences similar to marijuana. It creates a relaxed feeling and changes in perception. Other symptoms include extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations. Spice abusers have also experience fast heart rates, vomiting, agitation, high blood pressure and confusion.

Dangers:

This drug is so new, the medical community is still learning how it affects the brain. The chemical in Spice attach to the same nerve cell receptors at THC, which is the mind-altering component of marijuana. Some of the chemicals found in Spice are stronger than marijuana and can lead to stronger and less predictable effects. It is possible that there are harmful heavy metal residues in Spice mixtures, but more research is needed.

Molly

Rappers are rapping about it, singers are singing about it, and chances are, where there’s music, you’ll probably find young people doing Molly, a new synthetic Ecstasy-like drug that’s growing in popularity nationwide. Not to be confused with Ecstasy, the “love drug” of the 80’s, Molly is mixed with methamphetamines, acid, caffeine and other “unknown drugs, spending on the pseudo chemist that mixes up the batch. Not knowing what the drug is tainted with can be dangerous, especially if the user has a mental health issue or mixes the drug with alcohol or other substances.

It causes muscle tension, tremors, severe dehydration, high heart rate, nausea, faintness, chills, sweating and blurred vision. But to those who use it, it enhances the music experience and even make touching feel like a blissful experience.

However, bliss is not what’s going on. More and more users are ending up in the hospital, or even dying. In 2013, two people died at New York’s Electric Zoo Festival, closing the festival down.

Here are a few of the most important facts parents should know about the drug:

  • It’s easily available.
  • It’s inexpensive compared to most other drugs.
  • The name “Molly” also makes it feel less scary to try to teens.
  • It’s quickly growing in popularity. Twelve percent of 18-25 year olds in the U.S. have used Molly, according to a 2012 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • There was a 123% increase in hospitalizations between 2004-2009, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Rock stars and rappers are glorifying Molly in lyrics, which also convinces teens that it’s “cool” and safe to use.

Before you talk to your kids about Molly, it’s important to know what it is and what you should be saying. This article is filled with great information and can help you be prepared for the conversation. Remember, talking to your kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol is not a one-time thing. Talk to your teen about these dangers and new drugs on the horizon often. Ask them questions about it, and listen. A dialogue is so much more effective than a lecture!

Bath Salts

Bath salts contain manmade chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant that’s found naturally in the khat plant. It’s a white or brown crystalline powder that’s sold in small plastic or foil packages and labeled “not for human consumption.” Bath salts are usually swallowed, inhaled or injected and are most dangerous when snorted or injected with a needle. It can be labeled as jewelry cleaner, plant food or phone screen cleaner and is available on line or in drug product stores under names like Ivory Wave, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning and Scarface.

Symptoms:

Bath Salts create an energizing and agitating effect. It can create feelings of joy and increased activity or energy, and can raise the heart rate and blood pressure. It’s considered a “cheap” substitute for amphetamines and cocaine, but can raise the brain dopamine level 10 times higher than cocaine. Users experience hallucinations similar to those of MDMA or LSD.

Dangers:

Bath salts have been linked to a high number of visits to emergency rooms and Poison Control Centers across the country. Users have needed medical attention for heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney failure, chest pains, paranoia and panic attacks. It can also lead to dehydration. It has a high rate of addiction, similar to that of methamphetamines, including strong withdrawal symptoms.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is most commonly known as “meth”, and is a powerful, addictive stimulant. It can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. It’s also known as crank, speed, ice, crystal, chalk, crypto, fire and glass.

Symptoms:

  • A euphoric rush, especially when smoked or injected.
  • Highly addictive. Users crave more meth more often.
  • Tolerance is developed quickly.
  • Intense delusions, like bugs crawling under the skin.
  • Development of violent, aggressive behavior over time.
  • Weight loss, loss of muscle tone and tooth decay.
  • After use, users experience a “crash,” including fatigue, anxiety, depression and confusion.

Dangers:

  • Chemicals used in making meth are dangerous to people and the environment.
  • Prolonged use can cause psychosis and permanent brain damage.
  • Can cause convulsions, auditory hallucinations, irregular heartbeat and insomnia.
  • Results in depressions, anxiety, fatigue, extreme aggression.

Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine is made from the dried leaves of the coca plant, and is a white, crystalline powder. Cocaine is inhaled or injected. It’s known as coke, snow, blow, nose candy, big C and white.

When cocaine is heated over a flame and combined with other substances like water and baking soda, the result is crack, named for the crackle the heat causes. It comes in white or tan pellets. It’s known as freebase or rock, and is smoked.

Symptoms:

  • Cocaine elevates the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
  • Both provide a burst of energy, Can cause jitteriness, dry mouth and teeth grinding.
  • It’s a powerful stimulant that shocks the central nervous system for 15-30 minutes if snorted, and 10-15 minutes if smoked.

Dangers:

  • Highly addictive. Creates physical and psychological cravings.
  • Injecting cocaine increases risk of infection of hepatitis or HIV through shared, dirty needles.
  • Snorting cocaine can create holes in the lining of your nose, or chronic nasal dripping.

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy is a “designer drug”, made by foreign or “underground” chemist. It’s available in powder, tablet or capsule form and is swallowed or snorted. It combines a hallucinogenic with a stimulant and intensifies all emotions. Also known as X, XTC, Adam, E, Roll.

Symptoms:

  • A tingly sensation of the skin.
  • Increased heart rate and raised body temperature.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Can cause cramps, blurred vision, chills or sweats and nausea.
  • Users tend to clench their jaws while using. Many teens or young adults chew on things like pacifiers while on Ecstasy.
  • Can cause depression, paranoia, anxiety and confusion.

Dangers:

  • Can cause organ damage or death.
  • With chronic use, depression, paranoia, anxiety and confusion can become permanent.
  • Can cause fatal heart attacks and breathing cessation, even with one use.
  • Highly addictive, with intense physical and psychological cravings.

Heroin and Opiates

Heroin is derived from the dried, processed liquid resin of the opium poppy. It can be in a powder form or a sticky, tar-like substance. The powder can range from white to dark brown in color. It’s injected, smoked or, in its pure form, inhaled. It’s known as Horse, Smack, Big H or Junk.

Symptoms:

  • A euphoric burst of high feelings, followed by drowsiness, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting.

Dangers:

  • Highly addictive. Users feel the need to take more heroin as soon as possible, in order to feel good again.
  • Heroin ravages the body over time. Chronic constipation, dry skin, scarred veins and breathing problems are just a few of the long-term symptoms.
  • If injected with a needle, users are susceptible to collapsed veins and exposure to infections through shared needles.
  • Easy to overdose on.
  • Extreme withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, vomiting and muscle pain.

Pain Relievers

OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Codeine and Demerol are used to treat pain or relieve coughs or diarrhea. They come in capsules or pills and prevent the brain from receiving pain messages. When abused, they are swallowed or injected.

Symptoms:

  • Pain relief.
  • Feelings of euphoria or well being.
  • Drowsiness and slowed breathing.
  • Constipation.

Dangers:

  • Extremely addictive.
  • Severe respiratory depression that can cause death.
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms including muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes.
  • When combined with alcohol, antihistamines, or other substances, it can cause death!

Inhalants

Some kids inhale or sniff fumes of volatile substances from every day products like glue, spray paint and paint thinner. While the high can be quick and intense, it only lasts a few minutes. It’s often called “huffing.”

Slang: poppers, snappers, air blast, oz, moon gas, whippets, boppers, bullet rush and poor man’s pot.

Symptoms:

  • Slurred speech.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Hallucinations, delusions.
  • Loss in control, muscle weakness, muscle spasms and tremors.
  • Lingering headache.
  • Confusion.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Leads to depression.

Dangers:

  • Inhalants are extremely toxic and very addictive.
  • They cause extensive and long-lasting damage to the brain and nervous system. It could affect your ability to walk, talk or even think!
  • Inhalants can create liver, lung and kidney problems.
  • You can suffocate or asphyxiate, leading to permanent brain or other organ damage.
  • Because the high doesn’t last long, users continue to inhale repeatedly, trying to extend the high. This is very dangerous.
  • Inhalants can kill you the very first time you try them!

Resources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts: Spice (Synthetic Marijuana). Bethesda, MD. NIDA, NIH, DHHS. Revised December 2012. Retrieved December 2012.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Monitoring the Future. Data Tables and Figures. Bethesda, MD: NIDA, NIH, DHHS. December 2012. Retrieved December 2012.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts: Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”). Bethesda, MD. NIDA, NIH, DHHS. Published November 2012. Retrieved December 2012.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Monitoring the Future. Data Tables and Figures. Bethesda, MD: NIDA, NIH, DHHS. December 2012. Retrieved December 2012.