Drugs and Alcohol

All Articles in the Category ‘Drugs and Alcohol’

Marijuana legalization: what parents can say to their children


With the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana-infused foods and beverages in Washington state this week, and the development of a commercial marijuana market over the next year, parents are asking what they should say to their children.

Since parents are the primary influence on adolescent behavior, even if it may not seem that way, it is important to discuss the new law and what is expected in your family.  High school students who smoke marijuana report that they started between the ages of 13 -14 so conversations need to start early.

First, ask children what they know about marijuana.  This is a good time to correct the many myths about marijuana.  For example, many teenagers tell us that marijuana cures cancer.  This is not true.

Then move on to the facts. Read full post »

Drug Use Among Teens: Part 6 Inhalants


In this series we’ve been discussing various things teens may use to get high. So far we’ve covered alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana, and even non-chemical things like the choking game. There are so many substances out there that it would be hard to cover everything! But before we end the series, I wanted to talk a bit about inhalants. Read full post »

Drug Use Among Teens: Part 5 the choking game


We’ve been talking about various drugs that teens may be exposed to in this series, but I wanted to also address other things teens may use to ‘get high.’ This post will focus on the ‘choking game,’ which isn’t a game at all. In fact, teens may ‘play’ this game because they see it as safe: it’s not a drug or alcohol. It can be done alone or with friends and is free. The problem is that this can be deadly. Read full post »

Drug use among teens: Part 4 Alcohol


Drug and alcohol use amongst teens is not a new issue. In fact before this series, we had previous blog posts on these topics, but the substances that are used to get high are constantly changing names and new things are being introduced, so I felt a series dedicated to the subject was warranted. In this post, the focus will be on alcohol, the most commonly used addictive substance among teens. Read full post »

Drug Use Among Teens: Part 3 Marijuana


Marijuana use amongst teens is not uncommon. In fact, 40% of teens in high school have tried marijuana at least once. Cannabis use has long been a topic in the press. In Washington state, measure Initiative-502 calls to legalize marijuana and a local commercial includes a mother discussing her reasons for supporting the measure. The purpose of this blog is not to support or disapprove of marijuana use, but to educate on some of the harmful effects marijuana can have on teens.

In a previous post we discussed marijuana and warning signs of substance abuse for parents to watch out for.  Here I want to discuss some of the behavior changes that go along with marijuana use. Read full post »

Drug Use Among Teens: Part 2 Stimulants


We started this series discussing teen drug use and designer drugs. Now we’ll talk a bit about stimulants. These consist of a wide variety of substances, but some are easier to get than others.  A great example of a stimulant is that most adults rely on each morning is caffeine.

For this post, I’ll provide an overview of caffeine, prescription ADHD medicines, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Read full post »

Drug Use Among Teens: Part 1 Designer drugs


This is the first in a series of posts about drugs that teens are abusing these days. A friend who is a social worker suggested I start this blog discussing some of the newer drugs that are gaining popularity. I am always amazed at the variety of things being offered to teens and surprised at how many teens admit to trying them. The substances being used include ones that have been around for centuries (alcohol, tobacco), but there are always going to be new things out there. For parents, it’s important to know what drugs are being offered to their kids, but  it’s even more important to remember to teach teens how to be responsible for their health and say ‘no thank you’ to drugs. This series will discuss the new and old drugs being used by or offered to teens.

I’ll start the series talking about some of the newer drugs… bath salts and spice. Read full post »

Teen Mental Health, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Abuse


I will be continuing with the Transgender Teens posts, but a recent study came out that I want to highlight, as it’s an important one. It involves teens, pain, and substance abuse- specifically, chronic pain, and the dangers that can come when careful attention is not paid to how teens are treated.

Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that lasts beyond a certain amount of time: usually 3 or 6 months. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand exactly what is causing it. For a parent, it is exhausting and miserable to watch your child suffer day after day. You should always be vigilant and ensure that your child’s pain is being appropriately treated; but if they are on certain medications, your vigilance needs to extend even further.

Read full post »

Teens and Black Out Parties


I was watching the news this week and took note of a dangerous new trend called “black out” parties.  These are parties where teens and college students dress in neon colors and go dance. They can be held in warehouse spaces or empty buildings that can be rented for the evening and are usually promoted as light shows with dancing. Often the advertising for the party states it is alcohol-free. This simple description doesn’t sound so harmful, however, what struck me was the report of how many teens are using the parties as a way to access alcohol and drugs. Read full post »

Teen Prescription Drug Use


How many adults have a medicine cabinet full of drugs?  Perhaps you’re saving that painkiller your dentist prescribed ‘just in case of emergency’ or the 10 pills for anxiety your doctor gave you for a case of stage fright? Maybe a grandparent has medications for blood pressure or a heart condition that were forgotten about.

Well, a friend recently told me a new term for a not-so-new trend in teen prescription drug use: “salad bowling”.  The concept is simple: teens go to their parents’ medicine cabinet and dump all the drugs into a salad bowl.  At the next party, set the bowl so friends can take a handful.  This trend is dangerous in its own right, but add alcohol to the mix and the consequences can be deadly. Read full post »