Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Teens experiment with drugs, alcohol in summer

Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer is a season filled with celebrations and outdoor activities. It is also the season to be even more watchful.

As families venture out to parks, campgrounds, trails, etc., they need to be careful. Something that looks like trash may be much more than that; it could be a meth lab. These labs are commonly found as a pop bottle with a tube sticking out of them. Do not touch them. Notify law enforcement, which will dispose of them properly. Meth is also being cooked in the middle of lakes with trash left floating behind or sunk.

Summer is also a time when many youth experiment with alcohol and drugs. The percentages of youth that begin using marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol peak in June and July. Many studies have proven that once a child has tried cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, their chances of repeated use increases. These substances are also gateway drugs, opening the door to trying and using harder street drugs such as meth and heroin.

Unsupervised youth with a lot of time on their hands might use whatever mood-altering substance is easily accessible in the home. Oftentimes, those substances are alcohol and prescription drugs. More and more youth are using prescription drugs to achieve a high, in large part because of their accessibility.

E-cigarettes are increasing in popularity. Youth are using these devices to inhale drugs other than nicotine. Unfortunately, cartridges containing alcohol, meth and other drugs can be found and easily purchased over the internet. Youth are purchasing drugs over the internet as well, and having them delivered to their home. There are hundreds of foreign websites marketing drugs to both kids and adults.

“It’s as easy as ordering a pizza,” says Adam, a fourteen year old designer drug user. Adam explained how he finds the drug he wants, borrows his parent’s credit card and places the order. A fictitious envelope arrives in the mailbox. “You can get anything,” he says. “Pot, pills, powder, whatever you’re after.” Credit card statements will show a non-descript Paypal charge or a misleading corporate name. Adam tells his parents that he’s buying video games or parts for his computer.

What can parents do? Be vigilant about locking up alcohol and prescription medications in your home and encourage others to do the same. Know where your children are, what they are doing, who they are with, and who their friends are. Check in with your child during the day. Monitor internet activity. Keep them busy with productive activities. Make time for one-on-one talks, beginning in childhood. You may think, “My daughter is only nine. She is too young for these types of conversations.”  In a recent training, the speaker, who was a treatment provider, indicated that she sees many clients who began using drugs as early as nine years old. Parental involvement is critical. More than 80 percent of children say parents are the leading influence in their decisions regarding alcohol and drugs.

For more information, please visit us on Facebook at Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts - LACE.