Abusing Illegal Drugs
A recent survey of over 6,000 teens performed by the Partnership for a Drug Free America revealed a significant overall decline in illegal drug use by today’s teens. This is thought to be a direct result of educational efforts by both health professionals and parents emphasizing to teens the risks of illegal drug use.
Research suggests that drug use is directly correlated with perception of risk; that is, the riskier a particular drug seems to be, the less likely a teen is to use that drug.
Of course, concerns about teen use of illegal drugs still remain. Younger teens are beginning to believe that two illegal drugs, ecstasy and LSD, are not very risky. And older teens have begun to use ecstasy more frequently than in the past.
Do you know about these two drugs?
Ecstasy is a slang term for an illegal drug with the scientific name MDMA. It has effects similar to hallucinogens and stimulants. Ecstasy is synthetically produced (in a secret “lab”), and often other chemicals or substances are added to it, such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (DXM, found in cough syrup), amphetamines, or even cocaine. The addition of other substances makes ecstasy especially risky.
Ecstasy is taken in pill, tablet, or capsule form. The pills vary in color and sometimes have cartoon-like images on them. Slang words for ecstasy include E, XTC, X, Clarity, and Adam. It is often used at rave parties so that teens can sustain energy for a night of vigorous dancing and partying.
Like other stimulant drugs, ecstasy causes a burst of energy that can last from six to 24 hours. It can also cause unwanted side effects, such as confusion, sleep problems, anxiety, nausea, chills, and increased temperature, heart rate, or blood pressure. Chronic use may lead to permanent memory loss or addiction, as well as damage to organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart.
LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diathylamide, is a hallucinogenic drug. It is synthetically produced and comes in a variety of forms, including powder, crystal, liquid, gelatin squares, laced on a sugar cube, and on blotter paper (small paper squares dipped in LSD).
Common names for LSD include acid, blotter, and trips. Users have extreme hallucinations, including a sensation that things are in motion and that colors are brighter. LSD can also cause extreme anxiety and paranoia, and even injuries related to this mental state. Chronic use of LSD can result in mental and social problems, and flashbacks may occur for years after someone has stopped using LSD.
What To Do
Parents need to become educated about drugs like LSD and ecstasy, as well as other illegal drugs that are commonly used by teens. This information is invaluable in educating teens about the risks of using illegal drugs. It’s important to stress that not only are there physical risks, but there are legal risks that may impact future college admissions, scholarship monies, and even job prospects.
Research shows that teens who have heard a lot about drugs from their parents are far less likely to abuse these substances. So don’t just have that talk once – keep talking.