Drug Trends in Teens

Unfortunately, it’s not getting any better when it comes to teenage drug use. Although national statistics show a slight decrease in Heroin and some prescription drugs among our teens, Hallucinogens including LSD and Ecstasy Marijuana, Cocaine, Xanax, Ritalin and Adderall have all shown an increase. Don’t misunderstand me, they’re still using Heroin and painkillers. There just not getting caught!
Marijuana continues to be the drug that our society, and parents in particular, think is no big deal. In fact, according to Fox News, a study released last week stated that, “Now 60% of adults in the U.S. favor legalization.” The stupidity of some parents continues to boggle my mind. I’ve had parents tell me, “Well at least my child isn’t using stronger drugs.” Don’t worry parents, they will. Then the real fun will start. With all the information that’s out there today, I can’t believe parents aren’t more informed about the real dangers of Marijuana and the side effects.

So here’s just a little information on really what’s going on with teens and Marijuana use. Almost 25% of high school seniors smoke pot on a regular basis. Tenth graders – 14.8% and 8th graders – 6.5%. Those are just the ones that agreed to tell the people that are doing the study that they smoke pot. What about all the ones who don’t admit it? Do we really think that teenagers are going to tell the truth about smoking pot?
The strains of Marijuana grown today is not the pot of old. This is not the 60’s and 70’s any longer. This Marijuana is unbelievably more potent with longer, lasting effects. But what really concerns me is the synthetic Marijuana and the Marijuana that is laced with more powerful drugs.
Synthetic Marijuana has many names, but the most recognizable names are called K-2, Spice & Black Mamba but there are over 500 names it’s sold under. This fake pot is made up of dried plant material and chopped up herbs and looks like herbal tobacco, or natural marijuana. The man-made (synthetic) THC is sprayed onto the plant material. Some synthetic cannabinoids are 100 times stronger than THC and operate on many brain receptors that cause significant negative side effects. These include high blood pressure, blurred vision, heart attack, vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, and severe anxiety and paranoia and serious psychosis and yes, death! Many of these chemicals are made in basements in China and Russia and then shipped to the U.S. It’s no surprise these people don’t follow high manufacturing standards. In liquid forms of spice or K2, synthetic psychedelics (like PCP) have been found.

Flakka or Gravel is a synthetic (man-made) cathinone which is a stimulant similar to the drug, Bath Salts and is extremely addictive. This drug causes hyper-stimulation, paranoia and hallucinations. It dangerously raises the body temperature and leads to kidney damage and failure. It can also lead to violent aggression and self-injury, and has been linked to suicides and heart attacks. The effects are so severe that the only way to bring down a user is to sedate them until they come back to reality, which can take up to 30 days. Unpredictable behavior can occur for months following. And YES, drug dealers are lacing marijuana with Flakka to increase their customer base, all the while never telling the user that Fakka has been added to the pot. 
So I wonder WHO of the sixty percent of the parents agreeing with legalizing marijuana polled are actually considering these factors?  Are they going to acknowledge that their vote contributed to legalizing a drug that can lead to medically disability or death? I’m sure many of these moms and dads think that kids are smoking “regular old marijuana.” Do you really want to take that chance just so you can be the cool parent? Your kid may think he or she is smoking the “natural stuff” but how do they to really know?

I talk with parents of OxyContin and Heroin addicts all the time and the all have one thing in common: It all started with marijuana use (by the way, it always does). Parents state their child lost their ability to cope with any issues and in particular, the normal anxieties of life. Now they basically live in a fog and have no idea what it’s like to be normal. They have absolutely no coping skills whatsoever, and depend on drugs for what they think is normal behavior and of course the parents to make all the decisions for them. Then when they don’t agree with the parent’s decisions, all Hell breaks loose. I really can’t believe it when parents that tells me their 17-year-old has his/her medical marijuana card because their knee hurts. Are they serious??? I can’t believe parents actually fall for this line!
Does this mean that every kid that smokes marijuana is going to wind up a drug addict? The answer is NO, but every drug user I know, including myself, in their addiction or in recovery will tell you, we all started with Marijuana. And when the Marijuana is no longer sufficient to handle are “anxiety” we always turn to other drugs. 

There’s so much more I can talk about but I will end this segment with this.

Get it together parents, you are doing more harm than you realize. Quit being ignorant about drug use before your child turns into Cheech & Chong and winds up living with you for the rest of your lives. The best decision you will ever make is voting NO on the legalization of Marijuana.

Nik Ashjian