The simple answer is that drugs alter perceptions of reality in ways that often feel pleasant. Drug use may temporarily satisfy emotional or social needs for experimenting young people. Many youth view drugs like a Swiss Army Knife, a tool with many functions: relaxation, pleasure, socialization, avoidance of emotional pain, a way to forget about problems, satisfy curiosity, avoid alienation, find excitement, feel like part of the crowd, go to sleep, wake up, cope with failure, relieve boredom, and /or to simply infuriate their parents. Some people are genetically programmed for difficulties with addictions while others find that curiosity leads to drug dependence and the challenges of dealing with addiction become overwhelming.
Today approximately 16% of the U.S. population age 12 and over meet clinical diagnostic criteria for addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs.
75% of high school students have used addictive substances.
39.9% of students have used marijuana one or more times during their life.
The challenges youth and families face today are complex and have the potential to devastate lives and derail futures. It is extremely important to work together to protect the kids in our community. We believe proactive prevention is the answer to long-term success and are here to empower and educate youth, families, and communities with the knowledge and courage to identify and prevent negative youth behavior.
Street Names: tina, tweak, glass, crank, crystal, crystal meth, speed
Looks Like: clear, white, yellow, or brown crystalline substance
Methods of Use: smoked, injected, swallowed, or snorted
What Youth Say: it gives you a lot of energy and will keep you up for days at a time.
Dangers: mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, severe dental problems, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, fatal overdose, meth is also extremely addictive, and the average user never knows what chemicals have been used to produce the drug (NIDA).
Street Names: cannabis, doobie, ganja, grass, green, home grown, jane, kush, marijuana, mary, mary jane, reefer, roach, THC, wacky weed, weed
Looks Like: Flowering clusters (buds) 1-2 inches long that are similar to dense foliage with a sticky texture
Methods of Use: smoked, ingested
What Youth Say: It’s safe, you can’t become addicted to it, it’s fun, it makes music and movies more interesting, it makes you hungry, it’s a type of medicine, celebrities and musicians use it, it will help you relax, it will make you more creative
Dangers: inhibits proper development of the brain (primarily frontal lobe which is responsible for higher level thinking), memory loss, difficulties learning, hallucinations, delusional thinking, and can be psychologically addictive (NIDA & DEA).
Street Names: smack, H, ska, junk, tar, dope, chiva, cheese, chasing the dragon,
beat, bt, ron, black
Looks Like: white or brown powder, black and sticky tar like substance, or hard
Methods of Use: injected, snorted, or smoked
What Youth Say: you will feel warm and fuzzy, euphoria you’ve never
experienced, and you won’t have a care in the world
Dangers: fatal overdose, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, collapsed veins, infections in the
lining of the heart and valves, pneumonia, and liver, kidney or brain damage (NIDA). Repeated injections cause infections with flesh eating bacteria (Staph, MRSA) from contaminated needles (DEA, 2011).
Street Names: coke, crack, blow, snow, nose candy
Looks Like: white powder, small white or off-white rocks
Methods of Use: Snorted, freebased (smoked), injected
What Youth Say: It will give you a euphoric rush
Dangers: Paranoid psychosis (auditory and visual hallucinations), when combined with alcohol creates a third toxic and potentially fatal compound called Cocaethylene. Seizures, convulsions, respiratory and/or heart failure are effects (NIDA and DEA).
Street Names: adam, E, ecstasy, hug, hug drug, love drug, molly, roll, vitamin E, X, XTC
Looks Like: pill or white powder
Methods of Use: snorted, smoked, injected, but is most commonly taken orally
What Youth Say: it will make you feel happy (loved) and energetic
Dangers: severe and possibly permanent drop in serotonin levels, dehydration, elevated body temperature, liver and heart failure, and fatal overdose. MDMA is also often mixed with other drugs such as: methamphetamines, cocaine, ketamine, and other chemicals without the knowledge of the user (NIDA and DEA).
Street Names: Benzodiazepines: benzos, zanies (Xanax), Klonopin, Valium
Barbiturates: barbs, barbies, downers, blues, nembies, succies
Opiates: blues, oxys, percs, vics, 30’s (Percocet 30mg), 40’s (OxyContin 40mg), 80’s (OxyContin 80 mg)
Amphetamines: speed, dex, adderal
Looks Like: pills, patches
Methods of Use: swallowed, smoked, injected, snorted
What Youth Say: helps you focus, makes you relax, helps you deal with stress, gets you high, makes you feel like you’re floating
Dangers: anxiety, paranoia, elevated body temperature, irregular heartbeat, seizures, fatal overdose, severe addiction (NIH, NIDA, DEA).
Street Names: whippets, poppers, snappers
Looks Like: metal cartridges, balloons, paper bags, aerosol cans (includes spray paint and keyboard cleaner)
Method of Use: inhaled
What Youth Say: it feels like a roller coaster, it makes you feel numb
Dangers: loss of feeling, sudden unconsciousness, hearing loss, spasms of the limbs, brain damage, heart failure, suffocation, and death (NIDA).
Street Names: spice, K2, bath salts
Looks Like: dried plant material, powder, or crystalline substance
Methods of Use: smoked, snorted, injected
What Youth Say: it’s a legal high, it will make you work harder, and it will help you get skinny
Dangers: vomiting, hallucinations, reparatory problems, physically addictive, immediate cravings for more, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, heart attack, panic attacks, agitation, confusion, suicidal thoughts, short-term coma, psychotic and violent behavior, and death (DEA, NIDA).
What choices did the speaker make that they can or cannot relate to? What did they learn?
Talk to your spouse, agree on your family’s position, and share that with your kid. Make that position very clear and always remain consistent. Don’t waiver.
Discuss with your kid what you have learned about home drug testing kits and the ability to use them at any time. When talking about the issue of trust, make it clear to your kid that you do trust them, and that you are continuing to build trust with them. You trust your kids to succeed at school, yet you wouldn't follow up by not looking at their report card. Home drug testing kits provide your kids an “out” from negative peer pressure situations; a way to say “no” when their friends are saying “yes.”
While prescription medications serve a valuable function when used correctly under the supervision of a doctor, they can be harmful and even deadly when abused or used incorrectly. Don't allow your prescription medications to fall into the hands of your kids or their friends. If you need to keep your prescription medications for a prolonged period of time, purchase a prescription lockbox or other safe to keep your kids from accessing the drugs. If you no longer need the medications, find a prescription drug disposal location near you that will allow you to safely dispose of them. (Arizona Prescription Take Back)
Look for opportunities to discuss the physical dangers to your kid’s health that result from drug use. You may also want to discuss the risks and possible catastrophic consequences from poor decisions made while using drugs. Consider setting rules and defined consequences for breaking each rule. Some families write a contract to be sure both the parents and kid clearly understand the expectations and consequences. Consistency with respect to enforcing rules and consequences is cited as a key factor in shaping behavior. Rewards for honoring rules are a great way to reinforce good decision-making. Acknowledging rule following with positive words goes a long way with kids.
If possible, ask your kid an open-ended question to create a two-way conversation about drugs. For example, you may begin with “I received this drug test kit at school tonight, what do you think?” Remember that your tone and the length of your response will impact the discussion. A kid may perceive a long response as a speech not a dialogue. Showing your willingness to listen will make your kid feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
Ask a question like, “What have you heard about drugs that is good?” in a non-judgmental, open way. Let your kid answer the question in its entirety. Thank them for the information then take the opportunity to start two-way discussion providing them with correct information. Be sure to have educated yourself prior to this conversation so you can answer all of your kid’s questions. If you don’t know an answer to a question, don’t guess, as you will lose credibility with your kid. Offer to find out or look for the answer together.
Sharing a local incident with your kid, such as an automobile accident resulting from someone under the influence, may open a discussion and create a way for you to provide your kid with information. You may want to raise an open-ended question about an individual you see on TV who is taking drugs, such as “How would they feel if they were in an accident because they were using drugs? How would their life change?”
You may consider giving your kid words to have in their mind to use if situations arise where drugs are offered. It will be easier for your kid to respond if they have a few planned phrases and a strategy for leaving the situation. One possible response is “I can’t, my parents will drug test me when I get home, and if I test positive my parents said they will call your parents.”
• Maintain your composure. Do not lose your temper.
• Sit down and have a conversation with your child in a private, distraction-free environment. Make sure that phones are put away, and that TVs and other devices are turned off.
• Be aware of your volume, tone, body language, and facial expressions. While you want to express disapproval, it is important to not yell or lose control.
• Be clear with your child that you do not approve of any drug or alcohol use.
• Ask your child why they chose to use drugs. Find out the underlying motivations so that they can be addressed in more positive ways. Kids use drugs for a wide variety of reasons including stress, peer pressure, self-medication, escape, and curiosity. Depending on your child’s reason, you may want to find a positive equivalent, outlet, hobby, or coping skill to replace the drug use.
• Insist that your child give you any drugs they may have remaining so that you can dispose of them. Inspect the child’s room, backpack/purse, bathroom, and vehicle to ensure they don’t have additional drugs hidden.
• Enforce an age-appropriate consequence that is likely to be effective. Restrict or eliminate use of a car, phone, computer, credit card, or spending money. Restrict free time until the behavior changes.
• Maintain ongoing communication with your child. Stay involved in their life. Let them know that they can come to you at any time if they are feeling stressed, scared, overwhelmed, confused, or in need of advice.
• Consider having your child attend a diversion or early intervention program, AA/CA/NA or other 12-step meetings, or local support groups offered through your child’s school, a community group, or your house of worship.
• Connect with local professional behavioral health resources. Depending on the type(s) of drugs your child is using, the quantity and length of time they have been using, and other factors, the correct resources may include individual counseling, family counseling, group therapy, outpatient treatment programs, detox, or inpatient treatment programs.
• Contact notMYkid's Resource Director at (602) 652-0163 x120
• Use SAMHSA's Treatment Locator to find resources near you.
Don’t overreact and lose your temper, but your teen needs a strong message that drug and alcohol use is not okay. A parent support group like Families Anonymous may prove very useful. Tell your kids what your family’s position is on alcohol or drugs.
Learn about what their effects are and what your kid is likely to look like when under the influence.
Find out how they see themselves, where they want their life to go, and what’s important to them. Determine what drugs and alcohol do for them. Don’t lecture, be clear, and keep your message short and to the point. Spend positive time with your kid in recreation and family activities.
Get to know the kids if possible. Form a network and keep in touch with the parents of their friends. Don’t be put off if other parents don’t share your concern about substance abuse, or too shocked if you find that another parent is using drugs with them or is supplying the kids with drugs and alcohol.
When you allow your kid to go out at night, consider allowing them the privilege of a cell phone that is GPS-enabled and provides a tracking ability so you can monitor their whereabouts. Similar GPS devices are available for cars. There are also several different cell-phone monitoring programs available that can track conversations and location.
Restrict or eliminate use of a car, restrict texting, take away or heavily monitor cell phone use, and limit unsupervised free time unless your kid is committed to being ‘clean and sober.’ Set clear, firm, and reasonable limits. Be consistent.
A quick review of the contents of your kid’s room will give you insight into their behavior. Check their room at night. Are they there?
Consider checking their website “history” and monitor their involvement in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Check to be sure that the other parent will be home and determine if they have the same curfew, values, and expectations as you do. Kids often select homes of absent or permissive parents for sleepovers and all-night drug/alcohol parties.
Your kid is not likely to stay sober if they attend unsupervised parties where drugs and alcohol are available. Help them locate sober activities.
There are many available like A.A, C.A., or N.A. (young people’s group), or check out a support group offered by the guidance department at your kid’s school.
If other family members have a drinking problem, abuse medication, or use illegal drugs, these issues must be dealt with as well as your kid’s use. Get rid of all of the alcohol in your house and remove any mind-altering drugs from the medicine cabinet.
If it’s from your ATM card, wallet, or pocketbook - keep them out of reach. Consider the amount of money that you provide for allowance, lunches, movies, etc. You may be financing their habit! Find out if your kid is selling drugs while using.
Buying several dozen tests online will send your kid a message that you are very committed to their sobriety. Drug testing also gives your kid the ability to say “NO” even when you are not present and allows you to see the full scope of the problem facing your family.
If you decide to work with a professional or program for counseling, be sure to check their credentials and experience. Most counselors and psychologists are generalists who do not have specific expertise in substance abuse and they may make the problem worse by addressing the wrong issues.
Usually once a week; these sessions are good for dealing with the family issues & personal problems that accompany drug abuse, but not very helpful in gaining sobriety skills. Select a therapist with strong substance abuse expertise or you will probably deal with the wrong issues.
Usually weekly sessions (60-90 minutes) are good for drug education, gaining skills to be sober, and dealing with emotional issues related to drug abuse and addiction.
Often believed to be the single best way to get and stay sober. New members should attend multiple meetings per week and need to obtain a sponsor.
Recommended to determine types and amounts of drugs used, to give the user an additional excuse not to use, and to allow parents and therapists to know if intervention is working. Drug testing should not be used as an intervention without psychotherapeutic support.
One to four hours of outpatient group therapy and drug education per day up to five times per week. Programs are often comprehensive & effective . . . if you manage to get your kid to participate.
These are intensive live-in programs in remote locations that combine confidence-building elements of outward-bound experiences with education, counseling, and group therapy. Follow-up with a therapeutic program at home is necessary. If drugs or alcohol is a serious problem, try to find a program with a strong 12-step orientation.
Many traditional boarding schools are filled with substance abusing kids who receive little or no help with the problem and often get worse. Residential treatment programs and specialty boarding schools often have excellent success, but as a parent be certain to talk with several graduates of the program about the quality of the program. Keep in mind that the primary job of each program's admissions counselors is "marketing."
Good for stabilization, especially if the addiction is severe or the client is also severely depressed or suicidal. Short-term inpatient programs should be combined with an intensive outpatient program to enhance their effectiveness. If you admit your kid, ensure that the psychiatrist has a strong track record with addictions – as many do not.
Many parents struggle with that very question. It turns out that according to A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., Treatment Research Institute, brain development continues into the early 20’s. The last part of the brain to develop is the decision-making region. So while you may think your kid is engaging in risky behavior, they may not have the ability to judge situations as well as an adult.
Many parents feel that their kid’s friends are more important to them than family. In fact, there is probably no one time in an individual’s life when the influence of peer pressure is stronger than in adolescence. Peer pressure is the result of a need to be accepted within social groups and gain freedom from parents and other authority figures. However, peer pressure situations can also lead to the temptation to use drugs, and parents should teach kids to make their own, informed decisions when offered drugs.
Parents are aware that talking to their kid about drug use is an important deterrent, however, it is impossible to block the images that the media portrays that glamorize drug use. Drugs are normalized by television shows, movies, and music, and are often seen as “just what kids do.” While these images are found in every aspect of the media, it is important that parents identify and discuss these images with their kids.
Healthy communication is a key component to the behavioral health and continued development of your kid. Effective communication is as much about the speaker as it is about the listener. We sometimes assume our kids are “checked out,” but could it be that we’re doing a poor job of engaging them? No one likes to feel like they’re being lectured or criticized, or that they don’t have a voice. Kids particularly struggle with how to express negative feelings, and sometimes speak or behave disrespectfully, aggressively, or immaturely. Part of our role as leaders is to try to access the unspoken message.
According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, kids that have two or fewer family dinners per week are twice as likely to smoke daily and get drunk monthly. Family dinners create communication between you and your kid, and you’d be surprised what you discover about your kid through a simple conversation around the dinner table.
notMYkid is not a counseling or treatment agency. We are here to offer support, information and options. Destructive youth behaviors do not discriminate and have impacted many lives. A number of resources are available, and will assist you in finding the help necessary to make informed and empowered choices.
or 1-800-248-TEEN (8336)
area codes 520 and 928)
A parent’s first reaction to drug testing their kids may be a strong concern about jeopardizing the trust they feel they have with their kid. From the time kids are young, parents establish rules and verify that the rules are followed.
For example, parents check their kid’s report cards starting in kindergarten to make sure they are successful academically. As a kid grows, parents continue to review the report cards, even when their kid tells them what to expect. Kids don’t have an issue about their parents reviewing their report cards in middle school or high school because it’s a verification method that started when they were young.
For an adolescent, new rules such as curfews are set. The first few late nights, parents stay up to be sure their kid is home at the established time. Over time, after a kid has repeatedly honored their curfew, parents may extend the curfew or may ask their kid to wake them when he or she gets home. Parents trust their kid, but continue to verify that they are adhering to boundaries.
Drug testing can be thought of as a report card or a verification method that shows how successfully a kid is saying no to drugs. The trust that a kid is making good decisions about saying no to drugs during adolescence will be earned over time, and parents will continue to verify that their kid is healthy and drug free. Home drug testing is a confidential, accurate, and inexpensive prevention tool.
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