Sunday, June 23, 2013

Important Facts on Illicit Drugs Parents Should Know

Drug abuse is commonplace issue stirring across the United States. Drug abuse hurts the abusers as well as the people around them. The effect of drugs on teens is more prolonged than on adults. Many teens use drugs to have fun and to feel 'high'. They even use drugs when they are depressed or think drugs will help them escape from problems. But the truth is, drug abuse exacerbates the issue the teens as well as for their parents.

Spot symptoms:
Teens using drug have symptoms of mental health issues, including depression or anxiety disorders. Parents should be alert enough to notice any change in behavior or general disposition of their kids. If they notice any of the drug abuse signs in their teens, they should take right step immediately. The following are few signs which are easily noticeable in drug abusing children:

•Change in behavior

•Inattentive to personal grooming

•Problematic behavior at school, such as drop in academic performance, suspension, etc.

•Mood swings


•Increase in borrowing money

•Using drug paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, etc.

Drop in academic performance:
Drugs have a debilitating effect on the brain. They negatively affect attributes like comprehension, memory, and cognitive abilities. At school, the drug users avoid peers. They get lethargic frequently because the use of drugs makes them restless, aggressive and cantankerous. They fail to perform personal chores and grooming, get late to school or evade classes. All these characteristics will cause a massive decline in academic performance.

Explain the harmful effects of illicit drugs:
Parents should openly discuss the issue of drug abuse with their teens, even if they are not abusing drugs. They should advise them against taking illicit substance of any sort and the implications thereof, if they do. They should explain to the kids why they are concerned about the issue. Parents have to spend quality time with their kids, and should love and support them. Despite all this, if the teens keep on indulging in substances, parents should take the guidance of professional counselors specializing in rehabilitation of illicit substance abusers.

Facts on some of the commonly abused drugs:
Blame it on the easy availability of illicit drugs or ignorance among the teens, teen drug abuse has become rampant. From the various other surveys and the general observation, few drugs are found to be commonly abused by the teens. The following are the details of most commonly abused drugs in the United States and how parents can identify these drugs, if their teen is suspected to abuse any one of them.

•Cannabis: It is known as marijuana in its herbal form. Studies have established it to be the most commonly abused illicit drug. The dried leaves are mixed with tobacco and smoked. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, sweet-and-sour odor. Research shows that use of marijuana affects the brain and lungs. Long-term marijuana abusers exhibit symptoms like irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and drug craving. Abusers consuming the drug will have smelly breath.

•Cocaine: This is a white crystalline powder. It is snorted, injected or smoked. It causes extra alertness, a feeling of 'high', etc. The side effects include high pulse rate, temperature, and dizziness among others.

•Opiates: These are extracts from raw opium and include heroin, morphine, and codeine. The last two are used as prescription pharmaceuticals for pain killing. Heroin is a white powder. Heroin causes euphoric 'high'. It is smoked, snorted or intravenously injected. Morphine and codeine are available as white round, scored tablets.

•Methamphetamine: Also known as meth, methamphetamine is a white powder and is smoked, snorted or intravenously injected. It immediately shoots up the heartbeat and body temperature - symptomatic of high fever. May drag the user to AIDS/hepatitis.

•Alcohol: Alcohol, a liquid drink, acts as a stimulant, and gives a false sense of relaxed mood and makes drowsy. Teens addicted to alcohol ultimately end up consuming drugs like marijuana, cocaine, etc. Large volume of alcohol can lead to shaking, sweating, loss of memory, loss of control on emotions, nausea, anxiety, and depression to hallucination, fever and convulsions.

•Tobacco: Tobacco is obtained from dried leaves of tobacco plant. After the leaves are dried they are treated with 4,000 chemicals before being made into cigarettes. Teen smoking is a serious problem. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 54 percent of high school students try smoking at some point. Teen smoking affects health in the long-term causing cough, shortness of breath, poor lung function, and respiratory problems.

•Inhalants: Inhalants are substances that are sniffed or "huffed" to give the user an immediate rush or high. The four basic types of chemicals that are used as inhalants are - volatile solvents, gases, aerosols and nitrites. They include household products like glues, paint thinners, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, felt-tip marker fluid, correction fluid, hair spray, aerosol deodorants, and spray paint. Effects from abusing inhalants can be both short-term and long-term. Regular use of inhalants cause serious harm to vital organs, brain, heart damage, liver failure, and muscle weakness.

•Vicodin: Vicodin is one of the most powerful prescription painkillers in the market. It is in the form of white, oblong scored tablet. When mixed with alcohol, vicodin over dose poses high risk among teenagers. Any teen who takes vicodin is at risk of addiction. Vicodin is highly addictive drug that carries with it a number of side effects and long-term health consequences.

This year's Monitoring the Future Survey had raised concerns about the increase in drug use among the Nation's teens. In this context, parents have a vital part in dissuading the teens from drugs. They need to explain to the kids the ill effects of illicit drugs on their body and mind, and the impact on the family.

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