Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Its summertime … be cautious when outdoors

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016

Article submitted by Kelly Sickafoose

With warm weather comes an increase in outdoor activities which, unfortunately, also could include drug use. Watch for unusual objects. Never pick up plastic, glass, or other types of containers that contain a white, off-white, tan, or reddish-colored granular substances (which may also contain a liquid) or containers with a white granular substance inside and an altered cap (i.e. a tube extending from the cap). These containers may be a “meth trash lab” and could be explosive. Also watch for needles. Heroin is growing in popularity, and since it’s frequently consumed via injection, users often leave needles at parks, campsites, etc. Warn children to watch for needles and meth trash labs and to never touch either object. If such items are found, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Summertime is also the riskiest time of year for first time drug and alcohol use, so parents should be watchful of children and for signs and symptoms of substance abuse. Since mood swings and unpredictable behavior are frequent occurrences for preteens and teenagers, parents may find it difficult to determine what “normal” teenage behavior is and what isn’t. However, if your child starts exhibiting one or more of the following signs, drug abuse may be to blame: Personal appearance messy, shows lack of caring about appearance, red flushed cheeks or face, track marks on arms or legs (or long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks), burns or soot on fingers or lips (from “joints” or “roaches” burning down), personal habits or actions, clenching teeth, smell of smoke or other unusual smells on breath or clothes, frequent use of chewing gum or mints to cover up breath, heavy use of over-the-counter products to reduce eye reddening, nasal irritation, or bad breath.

Other signs include frequently breaks curfew, cash flow problems, reckless driving, car accidents, or unexplained dents in vehicles, avoiding eye contact, locked bedroom doors and secretive phone calls, going out every night, “munchies” or sudden appetite, behavioral issues associated with teen substance abuse, change in relationships with family members or friends, loss of inhibitions, mood changes, loud, obnoxious behavior, hyperactivity, or laughing at nothing, clumsy, stumbling, poor balance, sullen, withdrawn, depressed, unusually tired, lethargic, silent, uncommunicative, hostility, anger, uncooperative behavior, deceitful, secretive, or makes endless excuses, decreased motivation, unable to speak intelligibly, slurred speech, or rapid-fire speech.

Also inability to focus, periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of “catch up” sleep, disappearances for long periods of time, health issues related to teen substance abuse, nosebleeds or runny nose, frequent sickness, accidents or injuries, sores, spots around mouth or skin abrasions/bruises, queasy, nauseous, vomiting, seizures, wetting lips, sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain, headaches and sweatiness.

Still not sure? Trust your instincts. Parents are usually the first ones to sense a problem even if they don’t know what it is. If you see troubling signs, seek the help of a professional. For more information, please visit us on Facebook at Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts - LACE.