Posts Tagged 'teen drug abuse'

Top Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2008 “Monitoring The Future” study on illicit drug and alcohol use by teens and youth, drug use trends that concern both parents and schools reflect:


  • 10.9% of 8th graders, 23.9% of 10th graders and 32.4% of 12th graders use marijuana
  • 15.4% of 12th graders have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Vicodin continues to be abused at high levels.
  • 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.2% of 10th graders and 9.6% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin
  • 1.8% of 8th graders, 3.9% of 10th graders and 5.2% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed

From peer pressure to looking for a way to deal with family and life challenges, drug and alcohol use by teens is a problem. More importantly, parents and schools may work hand-in-hand in monitoring and managing substance abuse.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of teen drug and/or alcohol use? The short list includes:

  • Behavioral issues
    • Changes in relationships with family members or friends
    • Mood changes or emotional instability
    • Withdrawn or depressed; uncommunicative
    • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of sleeping
  • Absenteeism or loss of interest in school or extracurricular activities
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school or home
  • Disappearance of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as alcohol or money
  • Personal appearance, habits or action changes
    • Poor hygiene and personal care
    • Track marks on arms or legs
    • Frequently breaking curfew
    • Using over-the-counter eye reddening washes and/or breath mints and gum more frequently

ExperTox supports both parents and schools through its drug and alcohol testing services designed to target those most vulnerable areas of substance abuse by youth and teens. Alternative specimen testing options allow for drug detection over varying time periods, from recent use to six months or more, including oral fluid, blood, urine, hair and nails.

These tests include:

  • Drug Tests
  • Alcohol Tests
  • Synthetic Opiates such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone (OxyContin)

Possible Addition to the K2 Legislation in Texas

This was on the news on KHOU Channel 11 in Houston, TX this week.

Rub-a-dub-dub, Drugs in your tub?

Are there new drugs in the market posing as bath salts? Yes this is actually true. Ivory Wave is marketed as a bath salt or plant food and is labeled ‘not for human consumption,’ but the substance’s true purpose is no secret online. Ivory Wave is the newest drug on the market – and it’s legal.

Ivory Wave contains two drugs, Lidocaine and Pyrovalerone, one is used by dentists in anesthesia and the other is a hallucinogen. The drug is popular among meth users and is smoked or snorted to produce a high. Law enforces say it started becoming popular in the U.S. when pseudoephedrine (active ingredient in crystal meth) became only available by prescription. Users of this drug feel paranoia, volatile aggression and believe their hallucinogens are real.

Now lawmakers and law enforcers are scrambling to stop the latest drug fad from taking over the US like it did in the UK, prompting the Home Office to ban it.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said he has had deputies injured trying to arrest salt users and also has seen other people seriously injured by the paranoid individuals. “This is one of the worst behavioral drugs I’ve ever seen,” said Johnson. “They are like mad people and they have no control over it. They are seeing things, hearing things and deputies and first-responders end up in the crossfire. Something has to be done to stop this before is spreads.”

One of the most noteworthy stories from the UK was 35-year-old Sarah Forsyth. She did not start taking Ivory Wave to get high, but as a diet supplement. It worked as an appetite suppressant and she dropped 10 dress sizes. She also endured the side effects like paranoia, aggression and was no longer able to sleep. Even after she lost the weight she was unable to quit using and began to hear voices and have vivid paranoid hallucinations. She soon became very ill, fell into a comma and eventually passed away.

To those of you thinking that Ivory Wave was just another bath salt, you now know the truth.

Comprehensive K2 Legislation in TX

Read more about the new bill being brought to the Texas Senate this week. It is the most comprehensive bill in the country!

How To Perform Nail Specimen Collections for Drug Testing

Did you know that fingernails and toenails make excellent specimens for drug testing?  The same drugs that can be detected in samples like urine, oral fluid and hair can also be detected in nails.  This means when that employee or candidate shows up for their drug test bald with their body completely shaved, we’ve got another surprise for them!

As you will see in this video, all ten fingernail or toenail tips are clipped first.  The detection period from clippings only is for 30 days, 6 months ago.  Do you want to know if someone was using drugs during the entire six month period?  If so, the collector will then lightly shave the surface of all ten nails.  The detection period between the lunula (the “white moon” of the nail) and where the clippings ended is about 5 months. 

Both the clippings and shavings are then submitted to ExperTox for testing.  Here is how the collection is performed:

Substance Abuse In A Can – Inhalants

First-time substance users generally don’t find their drugs on the street.  They find it in their home among everyday items used by the family.  Do you have aerosol cans, cleaning fluids, and removers scatters around your house?  These are inhalants, a “gateway” drug easily accessible by young teens.

Inhalants are products that produce breathable chemical vapors that cause mind-altering affects, similar to alcohol.  Because inhalants are breathed, they quickly enter the user’s blood system, causing an almost immediate affect.  According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 729,000 young people, ages 12 and up, used some type of inhalant to get high during the past 12 month period.  70% of these first-time users were under 18.  In fact, according to The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), 1 in 5 children will abuse inhalants by the 8th grade.  8th grade students show the highest level of inhalant abuse, with a higher percentage being female.

Why do young people use inhalants?  It’s easy – they can find them anywhere around their own home or garage.  They are also cheap.  Common types of inhalant products include but are not limited to:

  • Spray paint
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hair spray
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Lighter fluid
  • Gasoline
  • Paint thinner
  • Felt-tipped markers
  • Glue

How are these everyday products used to get high?  The inhalant user may sniff or snort the fumes directly from the container.  They may also spray the product directly into their nose or mouth.  Other ways fumes are introduced include “bagging”, where the vapor is sprayed directly into a plastic or paper bag, then placed over the nose and mouth to breathe the fumes; and “huffing”.  Huffing occurs when a rag or clothing is soaked with the product, then it is held over the nose and mouth or even stuffed into the mouth.

How can parents recognize the signs and symptoms of inhalant use?  We would first like to recommend prevention, and this is a good month to get started, National Poison Prevention Month.  Lock up or protect any products that could potentially be abused.  Keep an inventory of items and pay attention to how quickly products are used up.  Then look for these common signs and symptoms:

  • Intoxication similar to someone that has used alcohol
    • A drunken appearance
    • Slurred speech
    • Muscle weakness
    • Impairment
    • Hallucinations/Delusions
    • Confusion
    • A chemical odor on a person’s breath or clothing
    • Stains on a person’s face, hands and clothes
    • Hidden empty spray containers or rags that reek of fumes

Inhalant abuse is not something to be taken lightly.  The products used are toxic and hazardous.  Improper use of inhalants can cause damage to the brain and nervous system; organ damage; convulsions and seizures; choking caused from inhaled vomit; secondary injuries from accidents; and even death.

To learn more about inhalant abuse and how to talk to your teen, visit The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website on inhalants for more information.

Teen Drug Use and a Parent’s Dilemma

Fact:  Illegal drug use by teens  is prevalent and a major concern for all parents.  According to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), in a 2005 survey one-half (50%) of all teens have tried an illicit drug by the time they finish high school with 15.5% of youths ages 12 – 17  indicating they were approached by someone selling drugs within the last month. 

 Now, couple the direct concerns associated with drug use and abuse with an additional parent dilemma – how their reactions may affect their relationship with their child.  No parent wants to believe their son or daughter may be experimenting with or using drugs.  Suspicions arise due to:

  •  Significant changes in behavior, grades at school and relationships
  • Choices in friends and peer groups
  • Pieces of evidence, such as if a teen smells like marijuana smoke after going out with his or her friends, or finding pills, powders or residues in their room, car or personal belongings
  • Prescription drugs, money or other valuables missing from the home

Trust is a real factor.  When a parent fears breaking a bond of trust with his or her child because they may be wrong, they subconsciously hold off on addressing the possible drug use issue.  The reality is this – once a person makes an assumption, doesn’t their level of trust and associated behavior change anyway?  How will a mother or father feel if their child is involved in a serious car accident, thrown in jail for possession or theft, or any other life-changing event due to drug impairment or use when they suspected but did nothing about their suspicions?

Keeping an open line of communication and making decisions based on facts is critical to a healthy relationship, as well as reducing the chances of drug use by your teen.  To learn more about how to talk to your teen about drugs and what to do if you suspect drug use, check out these resource websites:

One Source…Numerous Options…Differences That Matter!

ExperTox® is a recognized forensic toxicology laboratory, combining advanced technology and science with a human heart.

We use our scientific expertise to provide our customers answers to their substance abuse, use and exposure questions.

We focus our personal character on supporting, caring for and understanding what our clients are going through as they contemplate and proceed through the testing process.

Our Tweets

  • Groundbreaking News, Expertox can now differentiate between amphetamine and methamphetamine on drug screens. Go Expertox 2 years ago
  • Use is acceptable, abuse sometimes requires assistance. Detect. treat, recover. Expertox 2 years ago
  • Alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of relationship problems, risk and safety situations, absenteeism and personal injury. 2 years ago
  • RT @PoisonInfo: Kids love to mimic what they see adults do. Avoid taking medications in front of children and keep them locked away. https:… 2 years ago
  • RT @PoisonInfo: Adult's purses/bags look like a treasure chest to kids, but can be full of hazards. Keep them high off the ground. https://… 2 years ago

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 17 other followers