What’s New in Drug Abuse
The good news is that drug abuse and alcohol use among teens is on the decline—with the exception of marijuana. The bad news is that more inventive and dangerous ways to get high are available than ever before. Continuing from part one, here are some more methods of abuse that may be coming to your neighborhood:
What it is: A computer-cleaning spray that contains difluoroethane. Users are primarily under 18 years of age. What it does: When inhaled it can produce a high lasting a few seconds to a few minutes. The effect may be similar to alcohol intoxication. Side effects include nausea, nosebleeds, impaired coordination and, in some cases, death.
While the full effects of e-cigarettes or “vaping” are still not fully known, it’s probably best to be skeptical about them. E-cigarettes have become enormously popular with adolescents—the numbers of teens and tweens using them doubled from 2011 to 2012. While e-cigarettes contain no tar—the main cause of lung cancer—they may contain other potentially harmful chemicals. Currently, there are no regulatory controls over these products, most are made in China, and testing of some products’ vapor has shown toxic metals. These products do contain varying concentrations of nicotine. Nicotine is not only addictive but it can affect brain development in children and teens. According to a recent study, teens who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to start smoking conventional tobacco products that teens who have never tried them.
Because e-cigarettes don’t leave a smell like tobacco, it is harder for parents to know that their kids are vaping.
Here’s another one that may be chalked up to urban myth. Whether the practice is prevalent or not according to health officials, it can be dangerous. What it is: It’s being reported that Burt’s Bees lip balm, a popular lip moisturizer made of natural products including beeswax, is being used to get high. They call it Beezin. The practice involves rubbing Burt’s Bees lip balm not on their intended target, but on the tops of their eyelids. What it does: It causes a tingly sensation, commonly associated with the use of the product. These burning sensations, when applied to the eyelids, allegedly simulate the effect of being high or even buzzed. The likely culprit behind the effect is the peppermint oil. Side effects can include allergic reactions and pink-eye like symptoms. The lip balm can also be a conduit for transmitting the herpes virus from the lips to the eyes. A serious infection could have dire consequences including blindness or death.
Choking, The Choking Game
Another one that sounds like urban mythology although it’s estimated as many as 250 to 1,000 teens die from playing this “game” every year (most are ruled suicides). The story goes that it often begins with high achieving teens who want to get high but don’t want to get caught with drugs or alcohol and ends with many dying or suffering from permanent brain damage. What it is: The so called game involves the use of restraints or the assistance of a friend to choke the player in order to cut off the flow of blood to the brain. This in turn creates a high in the player that comes when the restraint is released and the blood rushes back to the brain. What it does: This “high” feeling comes from thousands of brain cells dying because of a lack of oxygen. This can cause long term brain damage, comas, strokes, and bleeding in the brain. (AKA “silent stroke”). What makes this game particularly dangerous is that it’s difficult to know when exactly to let go.
According to studies, as many as 40% of all young athletes take protein enhancements which are available in forms ranging from bars to shakes to powders. While teens may take these supplements with the hope that they can improve muscle growth, muscle recovery, and overall athletic performance, there is no evidence that these supplements are any more “enhancing” than a nutritious diet. What it does: A substance found in many of these products called creatine can actually interfere with a growing adolescent’s own natural production of creatine, making the body reliant on the supplements. With overuse creatine can cause blood acidity which then draws calcium from the bones to counteract the higher acidity of the pH in the blood. This in turn can lead to declining bone strength and kidney stones formed by excess calcium. Side effects can include weight gain, muscle cramping, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
DXM, Coricidin Cough & Cold, Triple C, Orange Crush, Nyquil, and others
What it is: Dextromethorphan, or DXM, is an ingredient in over half of all OTC drugs sold in the U.S. It is in such products are Dimetapp DM, Robitussin, Vicks Formula 44, and Theraflu. According to a 2008 study, 1 in 10 American teenagers has abused products with DXM making it more popular for the age group than cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, or meth. What it does: When taken quantities of 10 to 50 times the recommended dose, DXM can cause hallucinatory and dissociative effects similar to PCP or ketamine. Side effects include impaired vision, sweating and fever, rapid breathing, increased and irregular heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and others. In powder form (not available OTC) DXM overdoses can be fatal.
Sizzurp, Purple Drank, Syrup, Lean
What it is: Similar to the above only this concoction contains prescription-strength cough syrup with codeine, an opiate, and promethazine, a sedative. It is often mixed with soda and candy and has been popularized in songs. What it does: The combination produces a feeling of euphoria while depressing the nervous system making the users lean over—hence the nickname “lean.” It can also slow the heart and lungs. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, impaired vision, memory loss, hallucinations and seizures. Overdoses can be fatal.
If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.