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(4) Drugs & Child`s

Reality of Teen Drug Abuse

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What is the recent data on adolescent drug use?

The Office of National Drug Control Policy provided statistics showing a significant downturn in usage levels. An important source for this information is an annual representative survey sampling of American adolescents, college students, and adults through age fifty.

Monitoring the Future (MTF) has been conducted annually by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research since 1975. It is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the most recent Monitoring the Future Study (2008), 19.6% of eighth graders, 34.1% of tenth graders, and 47.4% of twelfth graders reported using any illicit drug within their lifetimes.

Among the drugs that generally held steady in at least two of the three grades monitored were any illicit drug, marijuana, any illicit drug other than marijuana (except for a significant decline in tenth grade), inhalants, hallucinogens taken as a class (although twelfth graders showed a nonsignificant increase in 2007–2008), LSD, hallucinogens other than LSD, PCP, ecstasy (MDMA), sedatives (barbiturates), tranquilizers, heroin, narcotics other than heroin (data available for twelfth grade only), OxyContin, and Vicodin, specifically.

These youngsters also report fairly easy to very easy access to drugs. Accessibility was highest for marijuana at 90%, approaching beyond 95% for alcohol and 40% for opioids.

Preventive measures should therefore begin even before the eighth grade.

 

How do I know if my child is using? What behaviors should I look for?

 

There is no certain way to know when your child is using. For the most part, a number of telltale signs add up, leading to parental knowledge. As our kids are in school, most of the troubling signs start with unaccounted tardiness, disinterest in school, not finishing schoolwork, and by being called by a school official recommending that your child be drug tested. You might not even think that your child’s changes are due to drugs.

Parents have mentioned that their children started to hang out with kids known to use drugs. The old adage, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are” reflects how your kids associate with those who may or may not be users. It is important to raise your suspicion for any change in behavior out of his/her usual ways and rule out drug effects as one of the causes.

When adolescents are intoxicated with cannabis (marijuana), behaviors include incessant laughing, withdrawal, irritability, acting suspiciously, and the more commonly reported glassy eyes. Your son may even spend less time with you to avoid being noticed. He may skip meals with the family and go straight to his room. There may also be changes in appetite. He may even sneak out at night to eat. Other changes in behavior can be odd, like keeping to himself; hearing voices; or being self-absorbed, paranoid, or extremely anxious. There maybe other signs, like empty bottles of alcohol that were intentionally hidden, cigarette butts, paper rolls, lighters, empty bags, leaf residues, or pipes. For parents who have been prescribed pain medications (in particular the opioid medications like acetaminophen and hydrocodone [Percocet or Vicodin]), missing supplies can raise suspicions.

It sometimes can be hard to even think that our kids are capable of doing drugs. Drug use should be considered as one of the possible causes of your child’s behavior changes so that early intervention to avoid more serious consequences can be done.

 It is important to raise your suspicion for any change in behavior out of his/her usual ways and rule out drug effects as one of the causes.

 Term:

 Intoxicated - More sophisticated term for being under the influence of drugs.

 

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