By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
7 “New Drugs” parents should be aware of.
New drugs and new patterns of drug use continue to emerge. When I first started talking about this in my class for drug and alcohol counselors the thought entered my mind that giving out information on new drugs might encourage their use. I didn’t need to worry about that, the people who want to use them knew about them far before I did. But now that there have been a few overdoses I believe it is important for parents and professions to be aware of these new trends in drug use. So here are six new drugs and one new drug use trend that are beginning to rival the old drug use problems. For up to the minute information on these drug use trends you only have to search the internet.
Khat is a stimulant plant from the Middle East, another of the results of our involvement in wars there. The leaves are chewed while still fresh and moist and are a mild stimulant similar to Coca leaves. The plant and the fresh leaves are rare in the U. S. The synthetic version is becoming more common.
Methcathinone is a synthetic and potent laboratory-produced version of the Khat plants active ingredient. It is not illegal or regulated everywhere yet and is growing in popularity. Results are reported as being similar to Methamphetamine.
3. Bath salts.
These are not the kind of bath salts your grandmother might have used. These drugs are being sold in “head” or “smoke” shops not bath boutiques and the label is certainly a misnomer. Common names include such benign-sounding names as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Bliss.”
They are used by smoking and can contain a variety of chemicals. Join Together reports that DEA has placed a temporary ban on three ingredients used in the manufacture of bath salts, Mephedrone, MDPV, and Methylone.
As fast as one ingredient is made illegal the manufactures switch ingredients. Overdoses can be particularly nasty and use may result in psychoses or death. To re-quote “What a price to get your kicks.”
4. Synthetic Cannabinoids.
These are best known locally under the brand names of “Spice” and “K-2.” This can be most any dried vegetable material, commonly parsley which has been coated with a synthetic Cannabinoid. There are 300 different chemicals involved so far and more are sure to be discovered. A few have been made controlled substances, mostly this means they are illegal in the U.S. As fast as one is banned another variety comes into use. These are not benign chemicals. Overdoses and toxic results have been reported including hallucinations that have not gone away after withdrawal from the drug.
5. Salvia Divinorum.
An unusual member of the sage family originally from Central America it appears to be the only member of the sage family with psychoactive properties. It was used by Native Americans in religious ceremonies and does not appear to be especially dangerous when used that way. When combined with other drugs, especially synthetics and alcohol the results are reported as being unpredictable. Since stimulants and depressants are the most popular drugs, consciousness-altering drugs like sage have not caught on in popularity the way Methcathinone and bath salts have. As with most dried herbal products the potency and ingredients can vary considerably.
Bet you thought I made that up? This has nothing to do with Superman. It is a tree, originally native to South East Asia. The leaf is reported to have both stimulant and depressive properties. In some places it is illegal and in other places, it is totally unregulated. At high doses, it has been reported to have effects similar to morphine. Some of the trees are now in the U. S. but most of the use is by buying leaves and preparations from the internet. The tree does not grow well in cold climates so most of the cases reported are from Florida. Like all other drugs, it is likely to spread over time.
7. Smoking of Heroin by teens.
This is a new twist to an old drug. This trend is occurring in the wealthier and more affluent parts of town. Abuse of pills is now epidemic. Teens have ready access to powerful painkillers. Sometimes these have been prescribed to them for injuries but often these pills are being taken from parents and grandparents medicine cabinets. After a short time, opiate addiction develops. Unable to get more pain pills an exceptionally large number of teens have taken to purchasing heroin to replace the pills. At first, they may be induced to smoke the heroin, thinking that this differentiates them from the drug addicts who use needles. The high price of the drug and the larger quantities needed when smoking result in most switching to needle use. Heroin is consuming a whole new generation.
By the time I get this posted it is likely there will be additions to the list. I hope this helps in the way of information. The only antidote I know of for an increase in drug addiction among our child is parental and societal involvement with kids. Happy, healthy kids are less likely to become addicted and they are more likely to turn to adults for help. Kids with mental health problems, who are estranged from their parents, are at increased risk. Trying to keep drugs out of our communities does not seem to be working as you can see here new drugs of abuse will keep entering our society. The only hope for taming the dragon of addiction is early intervention and treatment.
Great sources of up to date information on drug use trends and laws are THE PARTNERSHIP AT DRUG FREE.ORG and Join Together. They send out frequent updates via email. Check them out at http://www.drugfree.org/join-together
As always comments and questions are welcome.
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