3 Dangerous New Teen Drug Trends
Navigating through the adolescent years can be challenging to say the least, especially when it comes to preventing your teen from experimenting with drugs. Research shows that teens who learn about the dangers associated with drug use from their parents are less likely to use them. While that is good news, it takes a lot more than a parent saying “just say no” to hit the message home. Today’s parents have to be one step ahead of their teen by being well informed about current drug fads and trends.
Drug fads can particularly be difficult for parents to keep up with, as the drug “hype” today may not be the drug “craze” tomorrow. Just like the ever-changing culture of fashion and music, ways to use and abuse drugs also evolve. From smoking alcohol to inhaling household substances, many teens are open to traveling down an adventurous and potentially lethal road to get a quick high. Unfortunately, many of these teens like to share their “trip” with others online. So teens who are searching for an escape don’t have to go beyond the comforts of their bedroom to discover innovative ways to use easy to access products. Which brings up the question – Do you know some of the popular drugs teens use today? If not, read on to learn about some of the dangerous trends teen are using to get high.
Trend #1 Vaping
One of the top trends is the ever-increasing use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers. Did you know that in 2014 the Oxford Dictionary named “vape” the word of the year? While many teens who vape think it is healthier than smoking tobacco products, research is showing the opposite. A study from Harvard University showed dangerous, lung-destroying chemicals are commonly found in the liquids used in e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
Research has also shown that teens who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to light up tobacco cigarettes, as compared to non-smoking teens. Plus, some teens are inhaling more than nicotine in their battery-operated devices. Many teens are using these devices to smoke synthetic substances and pot.
A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics discovered teens using e-cigarettes to vaporize cannabis was 27 times higher than the adults! Vaping is a new craze with this young population, and therefore, e-cigarettes and vaporizers are definitely a trend that needs to be on the radar of all parents.
Trend #2 Inhaling Household Products
Parents beware! Inhalants represent the largest category of everyday items teens use to get high. Inhalant abuse poses a potentially fatal danger to youth. There are numerous products readily available in the confines of your home that can be used take a dangerous “trip”.
Studies show the following age groups have abused inhalants at least once in the past year:
- 10.1% of 8th graders
- 5.6% of 10th graders
- 1.5% of 12th graders
Take a look at the list below and see how many of these common items are currently in your home:
- Spray Paint
- Nail polish remover
- Computer Cleaning Products (known as Dusting)
- Whipped Cream Aerosol Cans (known as Whip-Its)
- Rubber cement
- Shoe Polish
- Paint thinners
- Felt-tip markers
- Lighter Fluid
- Cooking spray
- Fabric Protector
All of these products create powerful vapors that are extremely dangerous when inhaled. If you suspect your teen is using inhalants, please get help immediately as one breath too many may be the last one.
Trend #3 Smoking Alcohol
Teens are inhaling alcohol and the result is extremely dangerous and deadly. This has been a trend with teens over the past several years and each year there are reports associated with serious and deadly consequences related to smoking alcohol. Now you may be asking “How do you smoke alcohol?” The answer is just a few clicks away. A quick Internet search, keywords “smoking alcohol” and you’ll get pages of results including a step-by-step Do It Yourself (DIY) guide to using a bicycle pump, and an empty soda bottle to vaporize the alcoholic beverages of your preference to inhale the ethanol fumes.
Parents heed this warning: The medical community warns that teens who smoke alcohol are at a much greater risk of alcohol poisoning and overdosing than those who drink alcohol via mouth. When teens drink too much alcohol, the body protects itself from the toxin by vomiting it out. However, when alcohol is smoked, it bypasses the stomach and liver and the body can’t expel it. Aside from poisoning the body, inhaling the vapors can also result in lung damage and infection. Parent’s – smoking alcohol is like playing a game of Russian roulette.
Parents heed this warning: The medical community warns that teens who smoke alcohol are at a much greater risk of alcohol poisoning and overdosing than those who drink alcohol via mouth.
Drug Trend Roundup
So there you have it: three concerning trends for every parent’s radar. Unfortunately, drugs aren’t hard to find and the Internet assists teens in discovering ways to get high or drunk. Unbeknownst to many teens, their Internet search may result in a life-long addiction, or worse yet, death.
Whether it’s out of the cupboard or ordering it online, many teens are putting their health in jeopardy by succumbing to these latest drug fads and trends. Parents, given these latest trends, it’s more important than ever before to speak with teen about the risks of using drugs, because as study after study has shown, what you say does matter.
Allen JG, Flanigan SS, LeBlanc M, Vallarino J, MacNaughton P, Stewart JH, Christiani DC. 2016. Flavoring chemicals in e-cigarettes: diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and acetoin in a sample of 51 products, including fruit-, candy-, and cocktail-flavored e-cigarettes. Environ Health Perspect 124:733–739; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510185
Morean, M. E., Kong, G., Camenga, D. R., Cavallo, D. A., & Krishnan-Sarin, S. (2015). High school students’ use of electronic cigarettes to vaporize cannabis. Pediatrics, 136(4), 611-616
National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is the scope of inhalant abuse? https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/inhalants/what-scope-inhalant-abuse
Wills, T. A., Knight, R., Sargent, J. D., Gibbons, F. X., Pagano, I., & Williams, R. J. (2016). Longitudinal study of e-cigarette use and onset of cigarette smoking among high school students in Hawaii. Tobacco control, tobaccocontrol-2015.
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