Your teen is at a party. They told you the parents would be home and that it’s just a small get-together. But even a small party can be a toxic pool of peer pressure for a growing teenager. Do you actually know what your teen is doing at that party? Will there be drinking or even drugs? While it’s important to have a trusting relationship with your teenager, it is also important to know when it’s time to step in and take charge of their activities. New drug trends can pop up fast, and before you know it, your teen may be in a dangerous situation at a social event. But you can take action just by staying in-the-know about drug trends and being aware of the warning signs that your teen might be abusing drugs. With the right information, you can better monitor your teen’s activities and behaviors. You don’t want to find out too late.
Here are a few of the drug trends for 2015 you should know about:
Molly: Commonly known as Molly or ecstasy, the official name for this drug is MDMA. It has been steadily gaining popularity since the late 2000s, and it is certainly a drug to watch out for among teenagers. Molly is considered a club drug and is typically used in pill form at raves and other kinds of parties. It is a synthetic psychoactive drug that produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth toward others and distortions in sensory and time perceptions. Because it is lab-created, Molly is an unpredictable drug that can vary greatly in strength, composition and dosage — you never know what you’re going to get. It can result in a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, blood vessel constriction and sweating, and the inability for the body to regulate temperature. It has also been known to cause panic attacks, psychosis, seizures and extreme dehydration.
Flakka (or Gravel): Flakka, also sometimes called Gravel, is a new and highly dangerous drug trend that has recently been seen emerging in Florida but is spreading to other areas as well. The drug is a combination of crystal meth and bath salts, giving it a gravel-like appearance. It can be eaten, snorted, injected or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device and can cause a condition called “excited delirium” that involves hyperstimulation, paranoia and hallucinations that can lead to violent aggression and self-injury. It has been linked to fatalities from suicide and heart attacks, and it can raise body temperatures to dangerous levels, leading to kidney damage and kidney failure.
K2 (or Spice): K2 is a particularly tricky drug to look out for as a parent because it can be obtained legally and is sold in gas stations, head shops and on the Internet. It is a synthetic cannabinoid of herbal mixtures that is chemically similar to THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana. However, the effects of this drug are much more powerful than marijuana and can include anxiety and agitation, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, shaking and seizures, hallucinations and paranoia, and violent behavior. Recently, there have been increasing instances of hospitalizations due to overdoses of K2.
Adderall: Adderall (and other stimulant medications like Ritalin and Concerta) is the dangerous drug your teen might be getting right out of a friend’s medicine cabinet. Typically prescribed to people with ADHD, Adderall has recently become a heavily abused drug among young people, especially students. People with prescriptions can easily give or sell it to others, usually those seeking the ability to focus better while studying. The problem? When abused or taken without a prescription, these drugs can be highly addictive. This type of drug suppresses the appetite, increases wakefulness, and increases focus and attention. It can also produce feelings of euphoria and is often abused for recreational purposes as a result.
Fentanyl: This drug is an opioid twice as potent as heroin and has been increasing in popularity across the nation since 2013, causing hundreds of overdoses and deaths. An opioid overdose can stop a person’s breathing, and fentanyl can cause this to happen very rapidly. In some cases, people have been unknowingly taking fentanyl in what they believed to be pure heroin, though a growing number of people are intentionally seeking out the stronger drug. Fentanyl produces a state of euphoria and relaxation.
Any Lab Test Now partners with the Partnership for Drug Free Kids and their Medicine Abuse Project to help educate parents about the problem of teen drug abuse, as well as share tools to help them talk to their teens. Be sure to talk to your teenager about the dangers of drug abuse and how to get help if something happens. If you think your teen may be abusing drugs, you may want to consider bringing them in for a drug test through our Trust But Verify teen drug testing program. Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find the right test for you and your child’s needs.