Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers
How to Say It to Teens: Talking about the Most Important Topics
in Their Lives
by Katrina Day Wester
a parent’s worst nightmare. They think their child is using
drugs. I’m not talking about weed; I’m talking about the
scary stuff -- Special K (Ketamine), H or Smack (Heroin), X (Ecstasy),
Roofies (Rohypnol) and more. How can you tell if your child is using
these types of drugs and what do you do?
If your child exhibits one or more of these signs and you
have eliminated normal causes, then you might be correct in assuming
that your child is using drugs.
and lack of muscular coordination .
remembering things they recently said or did
- Loss of
coordination, dizziness, fainting
- Sleep problems
Even if you
did drugs as a teen, you might not be able to recognize the signs of
drug use today. Many of the drugs are different.
Club drugs known as X, XTC, K, Roofies are often made in home laboratories
so the true make up of the drug is somewhat different and the effects
can vary. Here are some of the dangers to discuss with your teen:
Damage: You’re not lying when you tell your teen that using
drugs can cause brain damage. Club drugs can damage the neurons in
your brain, impairing your senses, memory, judgment, and coordination.
In fact, it’s been found that regular use of ecstasy produces
long-lasting, perhaps permanent damage to the brain’s ability
to think and store memories.
- Loss of
Control: Side effects include loss of muscle and motor control, blurred
vision, seizures, increased heart rate and blood pressure. Some drugs
such as GHB, are depressants that can cause drowsiness, unconsciousness,
or breathing problems.
- Date Rape:
Rohypol or Roofies are used in “date rape” because they
are sedatives that can make you unconscious and immobilize you. Rohypnol
can cause a kind of amnesia. One scary thing about this drug is that
you wouldn’t even know if it was slipped into your drink –
it’s odorless and tasteless. If your daughter is going to a
club, make sure she knows the risks and NEVER leaves her drink unattended
or accepts a drink from someone she doesn’t know and trust.
Club drugs can kill you. Higher doses of club drugs can cause severe
breathing problems, coma, or even death.
IS YOUR TEEN AT RISK?
Parents can help through early education about drugs, open communication,
good role modeling, and early recognition if problems are developing.
To repeat, warning signs of teenage substance abuse may include:
Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting
Personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible
behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general
lack of interest
Starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.
Decreased interests, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences,
truancy, and discipline problems.
new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities,
problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress
Some of the warning signs listed above can also be signs of other problems.
Parents may recognize signs of trouble but should not be expected to
make the diagnosis. An effective way for parents to show care and concern
is to openly discuss the use and possible abuse of alcohol and other
drugs with their teenager.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) The
Facts for Families©
M.A.D.D. (Mother’s Against Drunk
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (Alcohol and Drug Information) http://www.health.org