The Drugs Abused by Teenagers Nowadays

October 24, 2012

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Child is Doing Drugs

Drugs abuse by teenagers is not a new problem, but the landscape can change as new drugs are introduced into high schools and neighborhoods. Unless the demand is cut, the problem will still exist. Educating both parents and youth in the facts of drugs abuse is the final answer. Hence it is worthwhile to know what drugs are circulating in our schools and among young people:

Drugs Abuse by Teenagers


In a recent study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the number one drug in high schools right now is marijuana. 6.6 percent of 12th graders surveyed admitted to smoking pot on a daily basis. Joints are now smoked more that cigarettes among our high schoolers. Marijuana (cannabis, pot, weed, grass, dope, Mary Jane, hemp, home grown) is increasingly viewed as a low-risk drug. It is pushed for “medicinal” purposes and is showing up on voting ballots for legalization. Marijuana is classified as a hallucinogen – a substance which distorts how the mind perceives reality – due to content of the chemical delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In recent years, the amount of THC present in a joint has increased due to more sophisticated growing techniques. The question can be asked, “Is weed a gateway drug?” Ask some drug users what they started on and you’ll probably get your answer. Drugs are essentially poisons and marijuana is no exception. Pot smokers are not immune to the vicious cycle of drug abuse.

Synthetic marijuana (“Spice,” “K2”)

A new trend on the rise is the use of “synthetic” and “legal” marijuana. These are plants laced with chemicals to approximate the same high or delusory characteristics as cannabis. They are sold in retail stores under innocuous names like “herbal incense” or “plant food,” and labeled “not for human consumption” – code words to avoid FDA and DEA regulation. This makes them no less a drug. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 2,906 calls relating to synthetic marijuana were received in 2010. The number was 6,959 for 2011, and for just the month of January 2012 was at 639.


Salvia refers to salvia divinorum, the so-called “YouTube drug,” a psychoactive plant commonly found in southern Mexico, Central, and South America. It contains the chemical salvinorin A and produces powerful hallucinations,Drugs Abuse visual distortions and disorientation comparable to LSD. Although some countries have banned it, it is legal in the US, with legislation pending in some states. YouTube clips of salvia users have become extremely popular, garnering millions of hits. They depict young people smoking salvia from a bong; within seconds, the drug kicks in and they are seen giggling uncontrollably, batting at the air, curling up in ball, babbling incoherently, crying or screaming. One video (titled: “horrible salvia trip”) has over 3 million views and depicts a young man screaming at thin air – all while his friends laugh hysterically. The youth curses his “friends” for even giving it to him and treating his reaction as entertainment. As to the known physiological effects, salvia appears to act upon the same cell receptors as opiates. Anything which produces such a startling and dissociative effect on young people should be discussed for what it is – a mind-altering substance acting upon the central nervous system.

Prescription drug abuse

Another shocking development has been the abuse of prescription drugs by our youth. Picture if you will a party at a teenager’s house; parents are out of town. The place gradually fills up with high school kids. On a table in the middle of the room is a punch bowl filled with colorful pills. Specifically, they are Vicodin, Adderall, OxyContin, Ritalin, Ambien, Focalin and a long list of others. The kids chomp them down like candy and wash them down with alcohol. Sound alarming? It is and is a very real occurrence. Punch bowl parties, raiding the medicine cabinet, faking symptoms to get a prescription, theft and simply asking around are some of the ways kids are obtaining and abusing prescription drugs. Vicodin – near the top of the list in the study from NIDA – is one of over 200 drugs that contain the opiate hydrocodone, a powerful pain killer and Schedule II narcotic (same class as cocaine and morphine). Dependence or addiction can set in within 1-4 weeks of use. Vicodin abuse has quadrupled in the last decade with related emergency room visits up by 500%. Any of these various psychoactive and stimulant drugs are packaged with warnings and side effects which include: increased heart rate, heightened blood pressure, panic attacks, pupil dilation, disturbed sleep patterns, erratic behavior, and violent outbursts. And as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poisoning deaths among teenagers has risen over 90% in the last decade largely due to prescription drug abuse.

More information

Those are a few of the more recent trends in high school drug use. By looking online, get vital information on teenage alcohol consumption, drinking and driving and use of illicit drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, heroin and LSD.


People – youth and adults alike – take drugs to mask or numb their pain, escape from problems or withdraw from reality. If they knew at the beginning that the drugs would wear off and their problems would return – bigger and bolder than ever – they may not have tried them in the first place, especially considering the debilitating effect upon one’s willingness or ability to deal with those very same problems.

Although these facts seem to paint a grim picture, you have it in your power to take effective action and save lives:

  • Get educated on the facts of drugs abuse.
  • Talk to your kids and their peers about drugs and alcohol. Open up the conversation.
  • Educate children and teenagers on what drugs are and their physical and mental ramifications.
  • Network! Work with like-minded organizations and individuals who want to take action.
  • Organize talks at schools on these subjects.
  • Knowledge on drugs abuse is your best weapon. Use it!

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when help is so close.

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