Drugs and Teens
Rise in Oxycontin Abuse by Area Teens
Adolescent treatment colleagues and law enforcement are reporting a startling rise in the abuse of Oxycodone as arrests for possession and illegal sale of OxyContin have been reported. Teenagers and young adults between the ages of 17 and 25 are buying OxyContin where ever they can get it and paying between $50 and $80 per pill.
OxyContin is prescribed in pill form and is supposed to be taken orally to allow the controlled release of Oxycodone over a 12 hour period, making it the longest lasting pain reliever on the market.
However young adults are crushing the pills and snorting or smoking the pills, receiving a very quick high. They become addicted quickly and often feel very sick without it, making stopping on their own difficult.
Like heroin, OxyContin is an opiate and will give abusers a high similar to high grade heroin, but with worse consequences. The initial rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities, abusers usually will be drowsy for several hours, and experience a sense of euphoria and relaxation. Mental function is clouded by the effect on the central nervous system, cardiac and respiratory functions slow, and speech may be slurred. These symptoms may be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, and severe itching.
Most OxyContin abusers are often found in possession of foil in their bedrooms, cars and even purses. They will often save the used foil with the “skid” marks (burnt OxyContin residue) on them so they can “re hit” or smoke off the residue if they are unable to purchase additional OxyContin. It’s also common for OxyContin abusers to have multiple lighters in their possession which they use to burn the “Oxy.” Other common paraphernalia found on OxyContin abusers includes hose clamps which act as a grader used to crush the pill into a fine powder, or a dollar bill, with the pill folded inside and then crushed with a hard instrument like a cigarette lighter. OxyContin abusers may remove the green coating prior to ingestion. Abusers will put the pill in their mouth to wet it and then wipe the green coating off with the inside of their shirt or socks. This will leave green marks on their clothing until washed.
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Natural Does Not Equal Safe
The death of a Carlsbad teen after using jimsonweed highlights the need for parents to know about drug use trends, and talk about them with their children. Jimsonweed grows wild in San Diego County and throughout the continental U.S. Jimsonweed, also known as Loco weed, is an annual which grows up to 5 feet high, with trumpet-shaped blue, purple or white flowers. All parts of the plant are toxic, with two psychoactive substances which cause intense hallucinogenic effects. A cultivated toxic perennial in the same genus, Angel's Trumpet, with yellow, white, or pink pastel flowers is found in local yards.
Jimsonweed produces dehydration, hallucinations, confusion, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and painful sensitivity to light. The length of the effects may persist for days because the alkaloids slow the digestion process. It is difficult to know the extent of Jimsonweed use in the U.S. because it is not scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. Increasingly, deaths and poisonings have been linked to Jimsonweed use.
But Jimsonweed is not the only "natural" plant that provides a drug threat. San Diego teens can legally buy Salvia, another unregulated plant which creates hallucinations, short term memory loss, and at high doses, unconsciousness. Both Jimsonweed seeds and Salvia leaves can be bought on the internet. Your youth need to know that:
- "Natural" or "herbal" does not mean safe.
- Something can be legal and yet be harmful.
Does your child know…?
- Pharmaceutical medicine should only be taken by the patient who got the prescription, in the dosage the doctor ordered. Parents should be alert to "pharming," - slang for abuse of someone else's medicine.
- Household substances should NEVER be inhaled. They are toxic for that unintended use, and deprive the brain of the oxygen it needs. (Parents should warn about "huffing" without naming specific products that tend to be abused by upper elementary or middle school students.)
- Alcohol mixed with any of the above is extremely dangerous. Alcohol is still the drug of choice for local teens, but teens who begin using substances often mix alcohol with marijuana and other drugs.
- Many substances-not just alcohol-impair driving ability. Also, recent surveys show students underestimate the danger of being a passenger with a driver who has smoked marijuana.
Behavioral expectations and limits help keep kids safe.
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- Know where your teen is going, and with whom.
- Ask if parents will be present.
- Create a codeword system your child can use to signal the need to be picked up from a situation where drugs are being used.