Every generation, parents worry about what kind of trouble their kids can get into, and the kinds of drugs that their kids could use are chief among those worries. In the 60s, pot and LSD were popular, and in the 70s, it was cocaine. Every decade, the popular drugs change, while a few “classics” are always a concern.
Newer, stronger drugs are available now, and the street names for them are changing all the time. It’s important for parents to know what these drugs are to look out for signs that their kids might be using them or talking about them in e-mails, texts and social media.
Here are a few of the drugs that parents should know about that are popular now:
You may have heard loose talk about the party drug “Molly.” Molly is the slang term for the powder form of the club drug MDMA, or methylenedioxy methylamphetamine. MDMA can be cut with many other substances, including caffeine and household chemicals, and it is snorted.
The effects of MDMA include:
- Confused sense of space and time
- Feelings of euphoria
MDMA can be very dangerous because it can produce such intense feelings that kids want to keep taking more. MDMA can be fatal.
Ecstasy is the concentrated pill form of MDMA. It has many slang terms, such as “X” or “beans.” Many kids love to take ecstasy before heading out to a rave, which is an all-night concert or party that usually includes glow lights and intense dancing.
Ecstasy is taken orally in pill form, and it includes many of the same effects of MDMA. Hallucinations are less often reported. Ecstasy is primarily known for producing intense feelings of intimacy and euphoria. It is known as “the love drug” because it makes people feel closer or more interested in physical intimacy.
Ecstasy can also be fatal as a result of overdose or contaminated ingredients. Heroin, crack and household chemicals have been reported to be mixed with ecstasy.
Marijuana is a “classic” drug that has been popular for many generations. Many parents may have even used it when they were younger. The Center for Addiction and Mental Health reported in a 2007 study that 26 percent of students said they used marijuana at least once in the previous year. In addition, 14 percent said they used marijuana six times or more during the year.
Many kids will try marijuana as their first drug. Side effects can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory lapses
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased hunger
Marijuana can cause people to make poor decisions and can be especially risky when users are driving. Long-term risks can include health consequences such as cancer, as well.
Adderall is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, many kids take it because it helps them improve concentration and stay up late, which fuels study sessions. The effects are similar to speed, but the drug is more commonly available because many students know someone who has a prescription. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health also found that those who use Adderall were more likely to use other drugs, including three times more likely to use marijuana and eight times more likely to use cocaine.
The drug can increase heart rate and increase the risk for anxiety and other mood disorders when taken by those for whom it is not prescribed.
Parents who suspect that their children are abusing drugs should consult with a professional about how to address the issue. Inpatient treatment may be recommended with those who show a dependency, while outpatient counseling may be recommended for others.
Before deciding on the best course of treatment, it is important that kids are fully evaluated to determine the full extent of their drug usage and the impact it is having on them. Then, a professional counselor can make recommendations for the most appropriate treatment.