Posts Tagged 'teen drug use'

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    • Withdrawn or depressed; uncommunicative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)

The Dangers of New Fad Drugs

We’ve recently shared with you some information related to the new fad drugs that are currently legal. With more kids ending up in the emergency room, there are more and more details surfacing about danger of these drugs.

In our recent article Rub-a-dub-dub, Drugs in my tub? We told you a little bit about the latest fad drug, bath salt, which has been banned in Europe and is now getting the attention of teens in America. Recent articles say that this drug is much worse than the other fad drug, fake marijuana, K2 or Spice.

According to Dr. J Ward Donovan, central Pennsylvania’s go-to doctor for emergency room physicians on poison questions, since November he has averaged a call a day about bath salt or “synthetic cocaine.” Donovan says that synthetic cocaine is really a synthetic amphetamine like product, meaning its chemical makeup is more similar to meth.

Unfortunately blogs and internet message boards talk about the legal substitute for cocaine becoming all the rage. Being high on fake cocaine has some similarity to the high from smoking synthetic marijuana. The difference, Donovan said, is this: A mild reaction to bath salt is comparable to a bad trip of K2.

Bath salts also come with side effects like delusion, confusion, violence, agitation, high blood pressure, sweating and fast heart rate. According to Donovan, there is one upswing. You can’t get addicted to it.

Rust Payne, spokesman for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency says, “We’re hearing a lot of reports. Poison centers, emergency rooms… The same trends among teens.”

Like synthetic marijuana, bath salts are being sold in head shops. The powdery white substance is priced by the gram and looks like cocaine.

Both synthetic marijuana and bath salts are extremely dangerous. Be smart. Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it is harmless. There are a lot of unsafe substances out there. These new fad drugs are just two examples.

Tips for Parents from

Get Educated: Learn as much as you can.

Have the Talk: Let them know that you know.

Be Specific: Tell your kids what you see and how you feel about it.

Don’t Make Excuses: You’re not helping if you make excuses for why they miss school or family functions if you suspect drug use.

Remain Calm: Don’t get mad, or start accusing. Be firm, but loving.

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:

What??? Are They Now Smoking Flowers From My Garden? – Salvia Divinorum

No, Salvia Divinorum is not your standard, pretty flower garden variety.  Salvia Divinorum, which we will refer to as “Salvia” was first used by the Mazatec Indian shamans in Oaxaca, Mexico during spiritual healing sessions.  It is a perennial herb native to the Sierra Mazatecas in Mexico, classified in the mint family that when ingested, temporarily gives the user hallucinogenic effects somewhat similar to LSD or psilocybin mushrooms.

Does it ever run through your head, “what are people going to think of trying next?”.  It does ours.  Add salvia to K2, Spice and other herbal incense products.  These herbs are being used to replace marijuana and other drugs because they are, for the most part, not regulated by U.S. drug laws.  However, there are some states that have passed laws banning the ingestion of salvia because of its psychoactive component, Salvinorin A.  SAMHSHA estimated that in 2006, 1.8 million people over the age of 12 had tried ingesting salvia, either by chewing or smoking it, at least once, an increase over the 2000 estimate of 750,000.

So why would anyone want to ingest salvia?  To begin with, in most cases it is not an illegal “drug”.  Interestingly, the high is very short term, generally lasting only a few minutes up to one-half hour, though the duration depends on the way it is ingested, the concentration of Salvinorin A, and how much is consumed.  Many parents are concerned with the use of salvia by their young teens and college-age children.  Symptoms parents should watch for include:

  • Psychedelic experiences
  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Expressing past memories
  • Sensations of motion
  • A sense of merging with or becoming objects
  • Improved mood
  • Feelings of calmness

Salvia is not detected in a standard 5 or 10 panel drug test, so its use may not be known in many cases.  To add to the challenge, the detection period is very short, as it metabolized through the body rapidly.  Blood or urine are the most common specimens submitted for testing.  Blood must be collected within one hour after ingestion in a gray top tube; and urine within twenty-four hours or the likelihood of detection is minimal.  Specimens must be protected from light and frozen because salvia’s psychoactive components  break down quickly.

If you suspect our child or employee may be using salvia to get high, it is important to test them immediately for the greatest chance at detection.

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

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

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

Join 17 other followers