Teen Drug Use Online: Monitoring Your Teen’s Digital Activity

What is your teen doing online? Did you know they can order drugs virtually?

IT’S OKAY!!!! Snooping when their safety is at risk is part of responsible parenting.

Parents often find it difficult to balance between keeping a watchful eye on their teens and invading their privacy. Some parents may shy away from proactively monitoring their teens’ online behavior because they don’t want to be overbearing, “uncool,” or untrusting. StopMedicineAbuse.org is here to tell you, IT’S OKAY!

There are ways to be hands-on without hovering, and here’s how:

Monitor what your teen is searching and where they’re going online.

Keep tabs on the list of websites visited and items searched on your computer by reviewing your internet browser’s history. You can do this by opening your internet window and using the shortcut Ctrl+H. Look for suspicious sites or search terms related to dangerous behavior, such as terms like “robotripping” or “dexxing” and pro-drug use sites like GrassCity.com and Erowid.com.

Address online behavior offline.

If you see your teen using their Facebook page in an inappropriate way, or if you see red flags for dangerous behavior, address it offline! Don’t use their profile as a way to communicate your concerns. Instead, take it as an opportunity to talk to your teen offline; for example, if you see friends referencing drinking or drug use on their wall talk to them about the risks of this dangerous behavior.

To friend or not to friend your teen on Facebook?

Friend away! According to a recent study by Lab42, 92% of parents are Facebook friends with their children and more joining to monitor their kids’ interactions, with 40% citing safety as the top reason for looking at their profiles. This will allow you to keep tabs on who your teen is interacting with and will allow you to identify any red flags for risky behavior, including dangerous teen trends like robotripping, surfing, and 30 seconds.

Bring Internet use out from behind closed doors.

Insist that your teen uses the computer in a communal space rather than in their bedrooms.

Special contributor: Stop Medicine Abuse

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Teen Drug Use: Household Products that are Dangerous and Deadly

Recently we heard the news of a 14-year old dying after inhaling helium at a party.  Helium that is used inflate balloons – as innocent as it may seem, it also can kill when used inappropriately.  This is no different than many other household products.

What is inhalant abuse?

Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of “getting high.” Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products. When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be “gateway” drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Here is a list of inhalants that are in many homesclick here.

Huffing, bagging, sniffing and dusting – what is it?

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual’s head, cutting off the supply of oxygen. Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

How prevalent is Inhalant abuse in the United States?

Over 2.1 million kids, ages 12 – 17, have used an Inhalant to get high. 1 out of 5 school-aged children in America has intentionally abused a common household product to get high by the time they reach the eighth grade. Because Inhalants are easily accessible they tend to be a drug of first use. In fact, they are as popular as marijuana among young people. Inhalant Abuse, also called “sniffing” and “huffing,” usually begins at age 10 or 11. Children as young as six, however, begin experimenting with Inhalants. No one knows for certain how many lives Inhalant Abuse claims each year because Inhalant Abuse deaths often are attributed to other causes.

Learn more – visit www.inhalant.org

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Addiction, Teen Addict, Get Sober Today: Recovery Month 2010

Sadly many parents watch their teens spiral out-of-control using drugs and drinking.  Today it seems there is more accessibility as well as freedoms that teens are taking advantage of.  Worse than all of this is if your teen becomes addictedAddiction can control your life and ruin it, as well as destroy families.

Now the positive side. Year after year, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) witnesses tremendous success and commitment from people and organizations across the country. For more than 20 years, the campaign has joined together millions of people to celebrate recovery and educate communities about addiction.

This year is no different.  Get ready for September 2010 when Recovery Month is back and ready to reach into your community and make a difference in lives.

in South Florida on September 25th, Family Fun Day sponsored by South Florida Behavioral Health Network/ Concept House starts at 10:00am.  Located at Morningside Park in Miami, there will be a BBQ and lots of fun with games, sack races, food and more.  Contact Martha Morales at mmorales.concepthouse@yahoo.com for more information.

Find your local event for Recovery Month or have one!  Put your zip code in the box on Recovery Month page. Click here. Come back here to watch the quick and powerful video.

Make a difference in someone’s life today.  Download the 2010 Recovery Kit today.  Click here.
Follow Recovery Month on Twitter and join their group on Facebook.

MUST WATCH VIDEO . PASS IT ON.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit

inhalantprevkitSource: Inhalant.org

Download this valuable kit today and learn more about inhalant use.  It is a serious concern today – since most inhalants are found in your household.

The Alliance for Consumer Education launched ITS Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit at a national press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The kit was successfully tested in 6 pilot states across the country.  Currently, ACE’s Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit is in all 50 states.  Furthermore, the Kit is in its third printing due to high demands. 

The Kit is intended for presentations to adult audiencesSpecifically parents of elementary and middle school children, so they can talk to their children about the dangers and risks associated with Inhalants. We base the program on data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.  Statistics show that parents talking to their kids about drugs decrease the risk of the kids trying a drug.

The Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit contains 4 components: the Facilitator’s Guide, a FAQ sheet, an interactive PowerPoint presentation, and a “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Inhalant Abuse” brochure.  Additionally, there are 4 printable posters for classroom use, presentations, etc.

Click here for free download.

Sue Scheff: Teen Drug Use and Testing

drugtestMany parents contact us asking about home drug tests when they suspect their teens are using substances.  As we have discussed over and over, having an open line of communication with our kids is the first step towards finding out what they are feeling, what peer pressure they are facing and if they are experimenting with drugs.  Talk to your teen – and don’t stop talking.

Source: US News & World Report

These tricks are out there on the Web, so parents need to be informed

Google “beat drug test,” and the search engine spits out page upon page of ploys and products that can make incriminating urine seem drug free. All it takes is a computer-savvy teen to access them. The ease of cheating, in fact, is one of at least seven reasons parents shouldn’t try to test their kids for drug use. Instead, experts say, they should seek out a professional assessment.

“Cheating remains the Achilles’ heal of drug urine testing in all settings,” says Robert DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health Inc. and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. With increasing opportunities for testing—by prospective employers, schools, and parents—experts worry that teens may have more impetus than ever to try. Last week, at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., toxicologist Amitava Dasgupta of University of Texas-Houston medical school demonstrated various ways that employees try to beat workplace drug tests—and how experts foil these schemes in the laboratory. There’s nothing to stop kids from using the same tricks, and there’s no guarantee that parents will be able to catch them at home.

Here are five ways—some of them downright dangerous—that teens may try to cheat drug tests. They’re all described elsewhere on the Internet, so parents should be aware of them.

1. Tampering. A sprinkle of salt or a splash of bleach, vinegar, detergent, or drain cleaner is all that’s needed to muck up a urine specimen. These and other household substances are all too often smuggled into the bathroom and used to alter the composition of urine, making the presence of some illegal substances undetectable, says Dasgupta. Same goes for chemical concoctions sold all over the Internet. Sometimes these additives or “adulterants” will cloud or discolor urine, easily casting suspicion on the specimen, but others leave the sample looking normal. Laboratory toxicologists employ simple tests to catch these cheats. For example, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide will turn urine brown if it’s been mixed with pyridinium chlorochromate, an otherwise-imperceptible chemical designed to foil drug tests.

2. Water-loading. Gulping fluids before providing urine, a long-standing tactic, is still the most common way that teens try to beat tests, says Sharon Levy, a pediatrician and director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Children’s Hospital Boston. Whether cheats use salty solutions to induce thirst, flushing agents that increase urine output, or just plain old H20, their aim is to water down drugs so they can’t be detected. Some testing facilities may check urine for dilution and deem overly watery samples “unfit for testing.” But consuming too much fluid too quickly can occasionally have dire consequences. “Water intoxication” reportedly killed a woman following participation in a radio show’s water drinking contest, says Alan Wu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California-San Francisco.

3. Switching drugs. Perhaps most alarming, says Levy, is that teens bent on defeating drug tests will sometimes switch their drug of choice to an undetectable (or harder to detect) substance that’s considerably more hazardous. Inhalants, for example, include numerous types of chemical vapors that typically produce brief, intoxicating effects. “You don’t excrete [inhalants] in your urine,” says Levy, but “inhaling is acutely more dangerous than marijuana.” Indeed, inhalants can trigger the lethal heart problem known as “sudden sniffing death” in otherwise healthy adolescents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The tragic case of young David Manlove is an example.

4. Popping vitamins. Perhaps it’s because niacin (aka vitamin B3) is known to aid metabolism, or perhaps it’s because Scientologists are said to take it in excess to flush their bodies of toxins. Whatever the reasons, some teens got the idea that extreme doses of this vitamin would erase any trace of their illicit drug use. Instead, it almost cost them their lives. In two separate incidents, emergency physician Manoj Mittal of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has found adolescents who downed at least 150 times the daily recommended dose of niacin (15 mg) to cheat drug tests. (He described the cases last year in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.) Both kids were vomiting, had low blood sugar, and had “significant” liver toxicity when they arrived at the ER. And the niacin didn’t even do what they’d intended; both tested positive for illicit drugs. “People might think that since [niacin] is a vitamin it’s harmless,” says Mittal. “But these cases suggest that our bodies have limits.”

 

 

5. Swapping urine samples. Whether they use a friend’s clean urine, synthetic pee, or even freeze-dried urine purchased online, some teens try to pass off foreign samples as their own, says Levy. The biggest tip-off is temperature. “Anything significantly lower than body temperature is suspicious,” says Dasgupta, which is why some have tried to shuttle samples in armpits or taped to thighs to keep them warm. Possibly the oddest trick of all is a device marketed to those trying to beat witnessed drug collections, says Wu: a sort of prosthetic penis called the “Whizzinator” that claims to come equipped with clean urine “guaranteed” to remain at body temperature for hours, with the help of special heat pads. “Believe it or not, [the prosthesis] comes in different colors,” says Wu.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Stop Medicine Abuse and Teens

stopmedicineabusemainAs a parent advocate, I continually receive information from a wide range of resources.  Educating parents today about what our teens and pre-teens are facing is critical to raising our children.  Today, as in many generations before, there are new concerns and challenges that parents face.  Whether it is social networking, peer pressure, or substance abuse – parents need to stay in touch.

Communication should be a parent number 1 priority with today’s teens and pre-teens.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association  (CHPA), founded in 1881, is a member-based association representing the leading manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and nutritional supplements. Many CHPA member products provide millions of Americans with safe, effective, and convenient therapies for the treatment and prevention of many common ailments and diseases.

Studies and common sense tell us that parents play a critical role in preventing substance abuse among teens by simply talking to them about it. CHPA’s Stop Medicine Abuse initiative empowers parents, as well as other community members, to get educated and take action in a variety of ways. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure parents talk to their kids before someone else does.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parenting Tips for Teens and Inhalant Abuse

inhalants4Source: Inhalant.org

• Ask your pre-teen or teenager if he or she knows about Inhalant Abuse or
is aware of other kids abusing products.

• Reinforce peer resistance skills. Tell him or her that sniffing products to get
high is not the way to fit in. Inhalants are harmful: the “high” comes with
high cost.

• Encourage your child to come to you if he or she has any questions about
Inhalants.

• Tell your child that the consequences of Inhalant Abuse are as dangerous as
those from abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs. Be absolutely clear
— emphasize that unsafe actions and risky behavior have serious consequences.

• Monitor your teen’s activities — set boundaries, ask questions. Be firm,
know his or her friends and his or her friends’ parents, know where they
meet to “hang out.”

•  Educate your child about the dangers, but don’t mention specific
substances unless your child brings them up. While many youngsters know
kids are sniffing some substances, they may not know the full range of
products that can be abused; and you don’t want to give them suggestions.

• Tell your children that you love them and that their safety is your number
one priority. Tell them again…and again…and again.