Parent Manual

Dear Parent or Guardian,

I commend you on taking the steps necessary to help protect your child from the dangers of substance abuse.  It is my hope that our program will give you everything you need to prevent and deter drug use within your family.  Please set the time aside to read this manual in its entirety as it was designed to give you the information and insight needed to help keep your children safe and drug free.  Some parts will sound repetitive only because they were worth repeating.

Drug and alcohol abuse affects everyone.  I have seen first-hand how devastating the impact of drug abuse can be.  I’ve lost 2 of my best friends and my older brother due to drug and alcohol related incidents.  All 3 families were middle to upper middle class with professional or entrepreneurial backgrounds.  Every family is at risk but you can dramatically lower that risk by learning to be proactive and take the right actions.

Drug education, open family communication and on going drug testing will do more to help your family avoid potential problems than anything else and that’s what this Parent Drug Program Manual is all about.  For additional information please visit our website: www.TestingTeensforDrugs.com .

Sincerely,

Paul Mungo (757) 469-3921

TestingTeensForDrugs.com

Drug Test Kits – Drug Education- Substance Abuse Education – for Parents

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General Overview  

 This Manual provides answers to questions about; trouble signs to look for, how to handle the process of drug testing, alternative resources if home interactions and testing is not enough and much more.  Your family will learn about the harmful effects of illegal drugs, how to communicate more effectively and how to rise above the problem.

Much of the language in this manual makes an assumption you will be drug testing your teen(s).  There have been way too many parents who were sure their kids were clean only to find out, too late, that they were wrong.  Drug testing is the only way to know for sure if your children are drug free.  Although testing is vital, we realize some of you may choose not to drug test but the information will still be valuable.

In-home drug testing, done right, will help prevent drug use within your household.  Continuing to test on a frequent and random basis is what makes drug testing so effective.  If your children know there will be random testing, they have a great reason to say “No” to drugs.  In most cases, a child will admit guilt after a positive home test.  If they do not admit to using, we cover what you can do.  Every situation is different but a good approach for all parents is to stay strong and to speak with respect and love while working with your teen.

If there is a drug problem, Hampton Roads residents can refer to our list of counselors and/or treatment center information by clicking “Hampton Roads Resources” under the “Parent Resources” tab on our home page at www.TestingTeensForDrugs.com .  For parents in other areas, start with our “Parent Resource’ tab and a web search for “counselors and treatment centers if needed.  Do not try to decide what is best for your child alone.  You may need the help of a trained substance-abuse counselor or a treatment center.  We will cover when professional help may be needed.  Just because a child tests positive, does not make he or she an addict.  It may have been social or experimental use but that doesn’t make it okay.  They may not need treatment, just more discipline and education along with quality family time and honest communication.

As a parent in today’s world, it just makes sense to learn about drugs.  Use all available resources to educate yourself.  You should get to know the typical drugs of abuse listed toward the end of this manual.  Learn about what to look for (signs of drug use).  Don’t deny there is a problem.

We will cover the importance of getting more involved in your teen’s life and you’ll learn how common sense combined with follow through will go a long way.  You will also learn some of the vast resources available like support group and national drug abuse links.  You’re not alone!  Keeping your family safe from drugs doesn’t have to be a battle or complicated.

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Program Manual Contents

Page #      Topic

1               Introduction

2              General Overview

3              Program Manual Contents

4              The Drug Problem

5              The Solution

6              What Parents Can Do

7              Who is Vulnerable

8              Why Should I Be Concerned

9              What Does the Law Say about Drug Testing

9              What to do if my Child Already has a Drug or Alcohol Problem

10            Why do People Use Drugs Anyway

11              Risk Factors

12             Protective Factors

13             What to say (How to answer questions from your child)

14             What to do if My Child Refuses to Take the Drug Test

15-16       Home Drug Test – Why and How it Works

16-17        Educate Yourself – Drug Use Risks

18             Drug Testing Works

19             Signs of Drug Use

20            Four Stages of Abuse

21             Taking Control

22            Educate You Children

23            Show You Care

24            Create a Follow up Plan

25             Directions For Drug Test Kits

26             What Our Drug Tests Can Detect

27-28       Getting Support and Advice – Resources

29             12 Step Programs

30-31       The Family Pledge

32             Drugs of Abuse (What is it – How is it used – Its effects)

33             How long does it remain in the body?

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 The Drug Problem

 Today’s young people have far more drugs to choose from than their parents 20 or 30 years ago.

Every family is vulnerable to the allure of drug use.  Good kids from good families can and do fall into the drug trap.  Stable families and good schools provide only some protection.  In interviews with the parents of students who use drugs and with the students themselves, it is clear that there is no absolute barrier to drug use.  The children of physicians, lawyers, and law enforcement officers have all become casualties of the drug problem.

By the time an adolescent reaches the 12th grade in high school, he/she runs a risk of becoming one of the “casualties” of today’s epidemic of drug use.  According to the most recent studies conducted in our nations school systems, 54% of all high school students will have used an illegal drug by the time they become seniors.  These students are doing far more than “just” smoking marijuana – 82% of these students have used cocaine and roughly 2% have tried heroin.  Today, drugs like Ecstasy, Ketamine,  K2/Spice and other substances are just as available as marijuana was only a few years ago.

Parents need to rise to the challenge of youthful drug abuse.  By the time a child has reached the age of 13, many have already made the choice to use drugs.  What we offer is a complete approach to educating the family unit to increase the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

 Addressing the Problem

 If a teen or pre-teen is using drugs, they will probably deny it to their parents.  Most drug counselors agree that by the time parents suspect drug use, it’s already well under way.  The average teen has been using drugs about 2 years before they are caught.

All parents want to keep their children away from drugs, but most don’t know how.  Open family discussion, as mentioned above, has been cited as the #1 deterrent to drug experimentation by children.

Note: At no time do we offer any kind of therapy.  There are professionals in this field that do that.  Our purpose is to educate parents about drug abuse and work with parents who see the value in home drug testing.

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The Solution

 The best way to confront drug use in adolescents is to bring the issue home to them.  Don’t leave things to chance by letting society or their friends teach them about drugs.

Our program of drug education and testing not only discourages your children from using and abusing drugs, but actually increases communication within the family.  You wouldn’t be reading this if you were not a concerned parent wishing to avail yourself and your children of every advantage in avoiding the pitfalls of drug abuse.

After reading this Manual, the first step begins with a dialogue between you and your children about what behaviors and values are acceptable regarding drug usage and writing them down for all to see and understand.  This is called The Family Pledge.  In this manner, you personalize the Pledge to meet your family’s specific needs.

The Pledge begins with communication.  Sit down with your children and decide together what you think an appropriate discipline should be for drug use: loss of driving privileges, counseling, early curfew, etc.  Add any additional agreements to the contract.  Remember that you are in control.  Then the parents and child need to sign the contract.  Unless there is an active problem, we recommend you start from today giving your child a chance to say no without punishment for past mistakes.

The second step involves random drug testing.  Most importantly, you can introduce this process into your family as a positive and caring expression of your concern.  Testing gives them an easier way to say “No”.  “I can’t, my parents drug test me”.  You can also teach your teen that mandatory drug testing is just a part of life like it is for millions of adults.  Go to www.TestingTeensForDrugs.com and make a free copy of “The Family Pledge”.  This is a very important part of the program!

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What Parents Can Do

 My brother started using drugs at 14 which is the average age to start.  He died July 2011 at the age of 44 from a heroin overdose.  He managed to lighten his drug use during his last 5 years and then had a fatal relapse.  When he began using, my parents didn’t have the tools (i.e. easy access to drug education and drug testing) available to them that you have today.  When I told my Mom about this Program Manual she said, “I can’t imagine how things might have been different if we had that available years ago with Johnny.”

This Manual provides the information and links you need as a parent to help level the playing field.  As you already know, information is worthless without action.  Take all the actions necessary to protect your family from drug abuse, including testing at home.

 Many children don’t want to use drugs but feel pressured to do so in order to “fit in.”  If you find out that your child is experimenting with drugs, what you do next is a matter of utmost importance.  Some parents shrug drug experimentation off as a phase a child goes through as they grow up.  Even if you tried drugs growing up and turned out alright it doesn’t mean it will be the same way for your child.  Other parents just want to deny the problem and hope it will go away on its own.  The truth is, you should never ignore any drug use – it tends not go away on its own and may get worse.  Using random drug testing at home gives your teen an easy way out of peer pressure, “I can’t try it, my parents’ drug test me”. Even better they can add, “…and if I get caught they will make me tell them where I got the drugs”.  Drug abuse touches everyone.  No family is immune.

Put this Program to use and it will go a long way to help keep your family healthy and safe.  Opening the channels of communication between parents and adolescents is vital to this process and The Family Pledge plays an important role.

We believe in the motto, “Prevent and Deter.”  Knowledge empowers a family to make decisions appropriate for themselves. By educating yourself and your loved ones, and agreeing on acceptable solutions to handling drug use, you are one step closer to ensuring a better and brighter future for your family.  Preventing drug abuse happens one child, one family at a time.

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Who is Vulnerable?

 Again, every family and every child is vulnerable to the allure of drug use.  Stable families, good schools, healthy activities, and positive role models provide only some protection.  It is clear that there is no absolute barrier to drug use.  The children of parents from every occupation and background have become casualties of the drug problem.

Studies demonstrate there are several factors that can increase the likelihood of adolescent drug use, but every family is vulnerable.  Factors such as siblings who already use drugs or parents who abuse alcohol or other substances can make it more likely that a young person will get involved with drugs.  Children with difficult temperaments and conduct disorders may also be more likely to develop problems.  But, again, a good child from a healthy family can fall prey to drug use, too – nobody is immune.

However, there is a solution.  The best way to confront drug use in adolescents is to be proactive and bring the issue home to them.  Parents must establish a clear policy about drug use – the same way they must communicate about sex and other issues that face every young person.  If parents don’t communicate, then kids will turn to friends and associates for “facts” that hardly can be called objective or accurate.  Find a way to become more active in their life.  Drug use is mostly a call for help.  The more active you are with them the more likely you will hear the call before they turn to drugs.

Parents have another tool – they can institute a policy of testing their children for drugs.  This is as important as regular trips to the family doctor to prevent and detect infectious diseases.

The only way any parent can be sure their child is not using drugs is by properly testing them on a random basis.

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Why Should I be Concerned?

 It is difficult to detect drug use from observation alone.

The drug threat continues throughout adolescence.  Parents must keep up the message that drug use is not acceptable in their home.

 

  1. Student drug use often occurs before and after school, when there is no regular and constant supervision.

 

  1. It can be difficult to detect drug use from observation alone, even by a trained eye.

 

  1. Maturing nervous systems are more critically impaired by intoxicants than mature ones are; childhood losses in learning can be lifelong and profound.

 

  1. Testing gives teens a chance to say, “NO,” to drugs when peers start applying pressure.

 

  1. Testing provides an opportunity for intervention and treatment. Catching a problem early is crucial to preventing drug addiction.

 PROGRAM FACTS

There are thousands of parents who bury their children due to drugs every year so don’t worry if your adolescent complains about a supposed lack of privacy with testing.  Properly administered testing dramatically increases the chances your kids stay alive, well and drug-free.

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What Does the Law Say About drug testing?

 Parents have the absolute right to test their children for the presence of illegal drugs.  In fact, the Supreme Court on June 27, 2002, not only upheld, but also broadened a previous 1995 ruling that schools may, under certain circumstances, test for the presence of drugs.  This is in recognition of the widespread nature of drug use among young people and the responsibility that parents and educators have for raising healthy drug-free kids.  While it is important to respect your child’s individuality, no “right to privacy” can or should prevent you from taking rational steps to ensure your child’s safety.  Millions of adults participate in mandatory drug testing; it’s simply a part of life.

 What do I do If my Child Already has a Problem with Drugs or Alcohol?

 Do not delay in getting started with a professional drug counselor or treatment program at once.  Our program is a complete approach to educating the family and preventing drug abuse and is not a substitute for counseling or treatment.

Active parental interaction is vital in getting your child’s attention and trust so you can help them both recognize potential problems and change it.  You absolutely can make a positive difference in your child’s direction of life!  However, if the problem should prove overwhelming and home intervention isn’t enough, don’t hesitate to get outside help at once.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a Federal agency charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services, maintains a “treatment locator” for these situations.  You can find them on the Internet at:  (a good place to start) http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/facilitylocatordoc.htm or you can call SAMHSA at 1-800-729-6686 for listings of centers and professional organizations in your area.

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 Why do People use Drugs Anyway?

 Adolescence is a difficult and challenging period of life.  Stresses associated with growing up and becoming an adult can seem overwhelming.  Adolescence is also a time when “fitting in” becomes very important and young people can mistakenly believe that “everyone” is trying marijuana or other drugs.  Everyone isn’t doing it, but perceptions matter, and in the case of drug use, perceptions can result in very dangerous behaviors.

It’s human to feel some kind of void; something missing or a feeling of incompletion.  Sometimes people don’t feel like they are good enough, don’t fit in, or feel like something is wrong with themself.  Just about everyone has a coping device or “idol” to deal with life’s challenges.  Some fill the void with food, sex or work while others take up running, reading or television and then there or those who use drugs and alcohol.  Steering our children to a less destructive coping mechanism is a good idea until they are ready to deal with themselves at a deeper level.  As a parent, helping your teen avoid the big mistakes can make a big difference.

Most people get handed their first drugs from either friends or relatives.  The idea that children are corrupted by “sinister looking men who hang around schoolyards” is a myth.  More often than not, it is a peer or a family member, who wants to “share” the experience.  Having an open line of communication can make a huge difference when avoiding the pitfalls of drug use.

PROGRAM FACTS

 Studies over the past two decades have tried to determine the origins and pathways of drug abuse – how the problem starts and how it progresses.  Several factors have been identified that differentiate those who use drugs from those who do not.  Factors associated with greater potential for drug use are called “risk” factors, and those associated with reduced potential for such use are called “protective” factors.

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Some of the risk factors are:

 Community Risk Factors

  • Economic and social deprivation
  • Low neighborhood attachment and community disorganization
  • Community laws and norms favorable toward drug use
  • Availability of drugs

Family Risk Factors

  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Family management problems
  1. Adapting to divorce, remarriage, or a marked worsening of family relations
  2. Distant, uninvolved and inconsistent parenting
  3. Negative or too little parent to child communication
  4. Poor parental monitoring
  5. Unclear family rules, expectations, and rewards
  • Parental drug use and positive attitudes toward use

School Risk Factors

  • Low commitment to school
  • Academic failure
  • Early antisocial behavior

Individual/Peer Risk Factors

  • Alienation or rebelliousness
  • Low self-worth
  • Antisocial behavior in early adolescence
  • Friends who use drugs
  • Favorable attitudes toward drug use
  • Early first use of drugs

Our Program tackles many of these risk factors helping to reduce their impact on the family, and increasing the likelihood of healthier communication, attitudes and behavior for all.

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Protective factors include:

 Family Protective Factors

  • Parental supervision- find a way to be active in their life
  • Child’s attachment to parent
  • Parent’s attachment to child
  • Parent’s involvement in child’s activities

Educational Protective Factors

  • Reading percentile
  • Mathematics percentile
  • Commitment to school
  • Attachment to teachers
  • Aspirations to go to college
  • Expectations to go to college
  • Parent’s expectation for child to go to college
  • Parent’s values about college

Peer Protective Factors

  • Peers have conventional values
  • Parent’s positive evaluation of peers

Other Protective Factors

  • Child has good self esteem
  • Child’s involvement in religious activities
  • Child’s involvement in pro-social activities
  • Child is close to an adult outside the family
  • Child feels successful in an area of life important to them

The most important finding in several research studies is that the accumulation of protective factors in school, family, and peer environments has a positive effect on keeping a child drug-free over the longer term.

Drug abuse has a great economic impact on society – an estimated $70 billion per year.  I had a parent in my office early 2013 who told me that her son lost a Scholarship to college worth almost $200,000 because he tested positive for drug use in his first semester.

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What to Say if Your Child Says:

 “Marijuana is Harmless”

Smoking marijuana is at least as bad as smoking cigarettes, and you already know how dangerous tobacco is to your health.

 “Marijuana Is  Not Addictive”

More kids enter drug treatment for marijuana than for all other illicit drugs combined.

“It Can’t Cause any Real Problems in the Long Term”

If you’re smoking marijuana, you could do things that jeopardize your future, like having sex or getting in trouble with the law.

  “Marijuana Makes You Mellow”

Not always.  Marijuana use is associated with violent behavior.  Kids who use marijuana weekly are four times more likely to engage in violent behavior than those who don’t.

“Marijuana’s Not as Popular as New Drugs like Ecstasy”

More kids use marijuana than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and all other illicit drugs combined.  Sixty percent of kids who regularly use illicit drugs use marijuana only. (This figures don’t include prescription drug abuse)

 “If I Smoke Marijuana, I’m not Hurting Anyone Else”

Marijuana trafficking is a big, often violent business, at home and abroad.  And if you get caught, it could really hurt your future.

Note: There is a sample “Parent to Teen conversion about drug testing” on page 32.

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What do I do if My Child Refuses to Take a Test?

 Unfortunately, if your child outright refuses to take a drug test, it is highly likely that they are already using drugs.  If The Program is patiently and kindly explained, most adolescents would have nothing to fear, or hide, with a random drug testing program, and would consent, even if it meant just placating your concerns.  In the real world, millions of adults are required to submit to testing; refusing to take the test has the same consequences as a positive result – they are not allowed to work for that company.  A refusal to test waves a big warning flag that something may be amiss.

If your child refuses to take a urine drug test:

First, state to your child that he/she controls their flow of urine, and if they don’t want to take the test, then they do not have to.  The choice is up to him or her.

Review your Family Pledge. Recap how drugs damage the body and the brain the way cigarettes damage the lungs.  You love and want what is best for them.

After calmly explaining why you want to test and giving the power to your child to choose whether they test or not, you can explain the end result for not testing are the same for testing positive. The actions taken should be clearly stated in your family pledge – loss of computer time, movie, allowance, car keys, etc. – whatever you decide upon.  Most importantly, if he/she complies with the family policy, and is ever found to be positive for an illicit drug, they will be given another chance to improve their behavior.  This program is meant to be a preventative measure and a deterrent, not as a means to “bust” them.  They will always get another chance – be it through home intervention or professional treatment!

It’s a choice, and your child has to make it.  It is part of growing up.  You love your child, and you shouldn’t care how long it takes for them to not go to school football games, or school dances or parties etc.   If they’re at home more, find a way to connect with them. When he/she is ready to supply a sample and get tested, they are taking the steps to gain privileges enjoyed by compliant members of your family.  Work the plan and it will work.  Later we talk about how to sneak a test if you feel you must.

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Home Drug Test – Why and how it works

We are living in a society today where more than 1 out of every 2 teens is trying drugs, and 2 out of 10 are using them on a regular basis.  You, as parents or guardians, risk the chance of your teenager getting behind the wheel of a car, drunk or high, and it is you who are responsible for the damage your children do.  Are you ready to assume the responsibility for the damage your child can do with the family car?

More importantly, do you want to shut your eyes to the possible damage your children can do to themselves?  Drugs affect the learning, physical growth, and the motivation of our children.  It is unacceptable to stand by and watch our kids destroy their health, their bodies, and their future by using drugs, they are our futureThe pattern we set for them today is the example they will carry over into the next generationLet loving guidance and open communication be your example to follow.

You do have an alternative.  And that alternative involves taking the parental responsibility you assumed when your child was born.  Your responsibility is to recognize and to demonstrate that drug and alcohol use is not going to be tolerated, and that you care.  You can do something very simple and powerful.

That something is to do drug testing along with a program of education.  The education consists of an explanation of what drugs do and why they are harmful.  The education also consists of your Family Pledge to show that you, the parent, care.

You must understand that drug testing is not done in an attempt to “bust” your child in the act of doing something wrong.  Drug use can be a health and legal matter; it’s also a call for help so be helpful.  The presence of regular drug testing can discourage teens from taking a risk that they may otherwise seize in a moment of weakness.

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Many parents may be surprised to learn that children not only need limits, but can even crave limits on their behavior.  In addition, children often use the fact that they are being tested as a good excuse to not “experiment” with drugs.  When dealing with their peers, they have an easy out, as it saves face in difficult situations.  “I can’t, my parents test me”.

Most parents want to be responsible about protecting their children from drugs. Some feel they don’t know how to do so without damaging their relationship with them.  In addition, they are worried about what to do should their worst fears become real.  They can’t imagine dealing with a child who is using drugs and refuses to quit.  Now you can have the confidence you need armed with information and resources vital to dealing and confronting these issues head-on.

It may be tempting to employ wishful thinking and just hope this critical phase passes without ever coming to your attention. But the truth is, wishful thinking cannot keep a child safe from drugs, and it cannot absolve a parent from the responsibility of providing a drug-free adolescence for their children.  The time to take action is now.

 Educate Yourself – drug use risks

 Many parents recall their own adolescence and wonder whether a little marijuana use or even experimentation with “harder” drugs is such a bad thing.  After all, they survived, so how bad could it be?  This view, more common than many would admit, is mistaken on several points.

Drugs today, including marijuana, are more potent than they were even 15 years ago.  In addition, newer synthetic drugs, such as Ecstasy, K2/Spice, Bath Salts and GHB, are used along with the more traditional intoxicants of alcohol and marijuana.  These drugs are dangerous.  They not only present a risk for habitual use and dependence, but also can produce abrupt and dramatic effects, including overdose and death

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In addition to the dangers the drugs themselves pose, there is the threat from the environment where adolescents frequently acquire them.  “Club drugs” are used at “raves” or parties where supervision is lacking, and the “underground” nature of the event fosters secrecy, unsafe sex, and impaired judgment.  This environment leaves teens vulnerable to others to prey on them – to both introduce them to drugs and to add them to drinks without their knowledge, dubbed by the media as the “date rape” drug.

Not acknowledging that your kids are facing these situations is unrealistic.  Ignoring the presence of drugs in our society is not going to make them go away, nor keep your kids from trying them.   Rather, it is a much better and a stronger approach if you educate yourself – and your children.

Even if you get them through high school, being on their own for the first time in college may pose an even bigger threat.  Until your child is 100% on their own, you as a parent have the right and responsibility to do what it takes to keep them safe.

Knowledge plus action is power, and you shouldn’t fear “putting ideas” into your kids’ heads.  But first, you need to know what’s really going on out there yourself, and then you need to share the information with them.  In this manner, you’ll empower them on how to deal with the issue when they’re actually confronted with it.  And they will face it at some point.

Teenagers who have learned about the risks of drugs from their parents are much less likely to use illicit substances than those teens that say they never learned about drugs from their parents.  Research has shown that 74% of fourth graders wish their parents would talk to them about drugs.  It is not too soon, nor are they too young, to start discussing the topic, because they are already hearing about it and are curious.  Discourage them from experimenting with educated loving guidance.

The tools you need are at your fingertips, and we encourage you to teach your kids how they can stop drugs from infiltrating and destroying their lives and future.  The challenge of talking with your child today is much easier when compared to the prospects of rehabilitation programs or funeral arrangements tomorrow.

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Drug Testing works:

Before today, most of you were probably unaware of the benefits of home drug testing.  A recent study has shown that less than 10% of American parents are aware of the tests.  Home drug testing is a powerful tool to discourage the use of drugs.  The military randomly tests 8 percent of its members every month.  They also have testing for personnel when they return from leave and when they return from off base. They now have near zero people who use drugs.

Commercial truck drivers working for the thousands of trucking companies in the USA had an initial positive rate of 18%.  Ten years after mandatory drug testing was initiated, drivers now have a positive rate of less than 3%.  This industry doesn’t test as much as the military but the program is still considered a huge success.  There seems to be a correlation between how much testing is done and the rate of positive results- test more and people seem to take fewer chances.

Hunterdon Central High School in New Jersey had a drug problem that came to the attention of the parents, administration and school board.  80% of the senior class stated they had used drugs within the last 12 months.  After they made a big deal of an anti-drug program that actually tests students, less than 5 percent of the students tested positive.

John P. Walter, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, commenting on the Pride Survey Finding, said,

“If our schools and parents were to utilize recognized, successful intervention techniques, including drug testing, we would be able to identify these youth and get them the counseling and treatment they need to turn away from drug use.”

If your children are already using drugs, testing provides an opportunity for intervention and treatment.  You can save them from making disastrous decisions that can destroy their lives – and steer a positive path for their future.  Home drug testing is as important as regular trips to the family doctor to prevent and detect infectious diseases.  Once you know the effects of illegal drugs, establish your family policy, and the consequence of using illegal drugs, you can begin a home drug testing routine.

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Signs of Drug Use

Adolescence is a period where young people undergo physical and behavioral changes that can be profound and alarming – to them as well as to their parents.  Many of the following symptoms may indicate the presence of drug use or other physical problems and may require a visit to a competent drug counselor.

The following should be causes for concern:

~Abrupt changes in work or school attendance, quality of schoolwork or grades and/or discipline problems.

~Unusual outbursts or displays of temper.

~A shirking of responsibility.

~Unexplained changes in overall attitude, including depression, withdrawal or apathy.

~Deterioration or sudden change of physical appearance or grooming habits.

~Sudden secretiveness or inappropriate concerns for privacy; poorly concealed attempts to avoid attention and suspicion, such as frequent trips to the  restroom or basement may be an attempt to conceal drug use.

~Wearing sunglasses, or frequent use of eye drops, to conceal the appearance of the eyes.

~Association with known drug users or “problem” students.

~Unusual borrowing of money from friends, siblings, or parents.

~Stealing – either at home or through shoplifting.

~Possessing unexplained valuables or drug paraphernalia.

Also be aware that kids are more sophisticated these days.  They, too, know the warning signs, and will go out of their way to maintain good grades and an appearance of sobriety.  The only way to know with certainty is by drug testing.

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4 Stages of Abuse

 Drug abuse involves 4 stages:

~The first stage is experimentation. A person tries drugs for the first time, usually at a party or on a date.

~The second stage is occasional use. The drug is available from another person or openly offered at a party.

~The third stage involves regular use. A person finds they like drugs and purchases the drugs for themselves.

~The fourth stage involves habitual use. The person needs drugs.  Drug hunger and cravings control the user’s life, and they will do anything to obtain them.

The first and second stage can be confronted within the family but many families may choose professional help for the second stage.  Families need to be very proactive in combating and discouraging any further drug use, and our Program is designed to be such a tool implemented in the privacy of your own home.  You should speak with a drug counselor or other professional help for the third stage.  Education, along with drug testing, is a very powerful combination in helping to empower the necessary changes in your child’s life and the path they are on.

 

The fourth stage needs family understanding and requires professional help.  The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, maintains a “treatment locator” for this predicament.  You can find them on the Internet at:  (a good place to start) http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/facilitylocatordoc.htm 

 

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Taking Control

 There is an alternative to just standing back and hoping the drug issue will never touch your family.  Because the reality is, drugs touch and affect everyone.  Hiding from the problem will not make it go away, nor will it solve anything.  Rather, this is the time to be prepared, firm, and talk with your kids. Listening to what they have to say is an important part of the process.   This is your time to take control and be proactive.

By now you can see this Manual expands your knowledge of what is going on with drugs today, and most importantly, what your children now face.  Even if you once tried, or used, drugs, it is not hypocritical for you to want your kids to stay away from illegal substances themselves.  You want the best for your children.  Draw on your own experiences as a guide and a deterrent: the classmate who had a fatal car crash, the roommate who became addicted, and the friend who contracted a fatal disease from a dirty needle etc.

Educating yourself and your children requires preparation – and complete honesty.  What you know now and why you want your children to avoid making those same mistakes can become a very valuable lesson.  Kids who learn about the risks of drug use from their parents are 36% less likely to smoke marijuana, 50% less likely to use inhalants, and 56% less likely to use LSD, than kids who don’t talk about drugs with their parents – just because you took the time to have this talk and implement a plan.

Be firm.  Express clearly that you would be disappointed if they started using drugs.  Fill out the “Family Pledge” and work your plan.  Learn to listen to your children.  Use a caring tone of voice, and never accuse or blame.  Your children have to feel comfortable talking to you about their concerns and problems.  They won’t reach out to you for help if they don’t feel it’s safe.

Take this time to empower yourself and your children, and implement a policy of no drug use in your familyYou can empower your children to make smart decisions for their future.

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Educate Your Children

 Approaching a discussion with your children on the subject of drugs can be frightening, but it is critical.  If you can ingrain a policy of “no drug use” before they are faced with difficult choices, it is statistically proven that adolescents are much more likely to avoid illegal substances than without this parental interaction.

Remember: You need not fear “putting ideas” into your kids’ heads by introducing the topic of drugs.  Rather, you are going to let them know about the potential dangers in their environment, so when they’re confronted with this, they’ll know what to do.

Again, an important part of this communication is your Family Pledge to each other.  When you begin discussing what is expected, you need to write it down, so everyone understands where the family stands on the issue of drugs and what the consequences are for breaking the rules.  This entire process is an opportunity to grow closer as a family. 

If you hear something you don’t like – your child confesses to having tried marijuana or drinking at a party – it is important you don’t react negatively.  You need to be open to what they have to say.  You need to have a plan on how you will handle various scenarios.  Chances are they may be defensive – and at all times, you need to maintain a caring, non-accusatory stance.  Asking their opinions can deflect an unwillingness to participate.  It is their well being that is your first concern, be on their side and work together.

A policy of home drug testing makes them accountable for future actions.  We cover how often you should drug test in the Family Pledge information on: www.TestingTeensforDrugs.com.

Ultimately, educating and opening the line of communication between you and your children is instrumental to how they will deal with real world situations.  They will develop the confidence to make the right decisions and secure a better future for themselves.  The war on drugs doesn’t have to be a war.

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Show You Care

A family “no-drugs” policy means you, as the parent or guardian, need to set the example.  “Do as I say, and not as I do,” will defeat your best intentions.  If you really want to show you care about your child’s welfare, you have to be the best role model you can be. If you show compassion, an openness of mind, and fairness, your children will follow suit.  If you show genuine interest in their lives, they will be interested in what you have to say.  They may not care what you say until they know how much you care.

Show you care by being involved in their lives.  Plan for mutual activities and constructive outlets.  Whether you are cheering them on at their soccer game, or helping with their homework, you need to physically participate in areas of their lives.  Don’t be afraid to ask where your kids are going, who they are meeting and what they’ll be doing.  Get to know their schedules and friends so you know what is going on with their time.  Also get to know their friends parents if possible and use team work.  It will be easier to spot if something is amiss, if you’re in tune with what is “regular” or “normal” for them.

Try to schedule after-school activities for them, or try to be there when they come home from school.  Or arrange for an adult to “monitor” them after school, not just an older sibling.  It’s a fact that after-school hours present a higher risk for adolescents to succumb to drug use, if there is not regular and constant supervision.

Talk and ask about what they are thinking and how they are feeling.  The more you do this, the more natural it will be for them to give you an honest answer.

Making your household rules consistent also shows you care.  Kids feel more cared for when there are established rules that are set and maintained, instead of just stepping in those times they are in trouble.  Set curfews, make it easy for them to contact you when they are out and need a ride home, and have them check in regularly.  Listen to your instincts!  If your gut tells you something is wrong, don’t delay in following up on your concern.  More often than not, you will be right.

Try not to be judgmental but be straight with them and let them know you are watching and want to be involved.  This takes honesty, love, and communication.  A large part of winning the drug battle is interacting to the point he or she realizes that it will be impossible to hide drug use from you.  Winning your child’s respect and approval starts with your “winning” behavior.

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Create a Follow-up Plan

 Once you have set a family drug policy into motion, you need to know how you will maintain it, and keep the conversation an ongoing one.  The issue of drugs is not a “one pep-talk and stop.”  The door for questions and answers must always be open.

As situations arise, especially with peer pressure, you must discuss, maybe even “act out” the potential scenarios and solutions, so you all agree on how it would be appropriate to deal with them.

Praise positive behavior.  A good word from a caring parent can encourage and strengthen what your child is doing right.  Granting privileges upon good and consistent behavior is akin to the real world, where one is promoted and recognized for good, solid work.

And if ever you should find that your child is using drugs, you need to know how you will handle it.  Don’t be judgmental or critical, the impact of their actions should already be laid out in your Family Pledge.  You must also know the exact steps you are going to take to combat the problem immediately.  This is not a time to “wing it.”  Be prepared for the “what if…” scenarios.

In our Program, you work together as a family to build a plan and then follow it.  If professional help is needed seek it.  But truly, the clearest point is, one way or another, you must intervene!  There is to be no compromise on this issue!  Whether you step up your family intervention process, or seek professional help, you should be prepared to do whatever it takes to get your child the help and guidance they need.  The life you save may be your kid’s.

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Drug Test Kit Directions

This page will give you the basic instructions for all the drug tests we sell.

 Directions for All-In-One Drug Test Kit

1) Donor provides specimen, about 1/3 cup urine (Collection cup included).

2) Secure cap for tight seal and peel back the label to view results.

3) Read results after 2 – 5 minutes.  See chart shown on test for interpretation of results.

 Directions for Dip Card Test

1) Donor provides urine specimen, only a 1/3 cup or less is needed (Collection cup included).

2) Remove cap from bottom of dip card then place tip of test strips into urine for about 10 to 20 seconds.  You will see the test strips getting moist.

3) Replace cap back to bottom of dip card then place on a flat surface.

4) Wait 2 to 5 minutes before checking results.  See chart on test for interpretation of results.

 Directions for Saliva test

1) Remove collection stick and testing tube from sealed pouch.

2) Remove packaging from collection stick and insert sponge end into mouth and soak sponge for 2 to 3 minutes or until saturated.

3) Insert the collection stick into the testing tube making sure to fit groove of collection stick onto the guide rail of test tube. Then press the lid down to full extent which compresses the stick.  (The saliva will be squeezed out of sponge onto the test strips.)

4) Wait about 2 to 5 minutes then see chart shown on test for interpretation of drug results.

5) Alcohol test strip should be a cream color for negative and a bluish green color for positive.  The darker the color the higher the alcohol level.

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Directions for Hair Follicle Test (90 Day Test)   

1) Cut about 100 to 125 strands of hair as close to the scalp as safely possible.  (The amount of hair should be about the size of a standard straw.)

2) Then package as directed on instructions.  Takes about 10 to 15 minutes, or less, to complete the entire process.

Cheating the Urine test:

There are a number of ways people try to cheat drug tests but all fall within two categories.  The first is using someone else’s urine for the test and the second is eating or drinking something that supposedly stops the drug metabolite from triggering a positive result.  Like most things in life, the results from these methods are not as good as advertised by the places selling them.  Yes, you can buy other peoples urine which gets stored in a variety of ways.

The bottom line is this, if you are doing a true random test your teen will not know when to prepare for trying to cheat.  Make a habit of telling them there is going to be a random test and then do it right away.  Have them, take extra clothing off (like jackets or hats), drop any bags or purses and walk them straight to the bathroom and have them give the sample.   Whatever you do, everyone should know in advance what to expect.   Do mock testing if needed so everyone is crystal clear on testing expectations.  If they say they can’t go right now have them drink water and keep them in sight, this is how it’s done in work drug testing.

Some, same sex, parents do stand in the bathroom while the teen is providing the sample and some don’t.  You decide what is right for your family.  If someone is not watching, simply check the bathroom for hidden samples of urine and remove all liquids which could be added to the sample.  You can tape the sink handles and add a color to the toilet water so they don’t get tempted to add water to the sample.  Checking the temperature strip will usually let you know if water was added because all urine is within a certain temperature range.

Most people don’t try to cheat but you should at least be aware of the possibility and never assume it’s above someone to try.

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Involuntary/Covertly Testing:

Parents can collect specimen from the toilet directly. It is easy to do and will avoid any confrontation. (1) Begin by turning off the water to the toilet bowl. (A knob is usually located behind the tank.) (2) Then flush. (3) Remove as much additional water as possible with a small cup or towel from the bowl. No water is able to flow into the reservoir portion of the bowl. Next, when your child goes to the bathroom and no water flows into the bowl, you will probably hear, “Hey, the toilet doesn’t work.” This is your opportunity to go and get a urine sample from the reservoir. After you have collected your sample, open the water control knob and flush. You now have your sample to test.

We recommend using this only when your child refuses to test and you have a real concern for their safety.  Honest communication is the best way so use this as a backup only if needed.

 Our Drug Tests Can Detect The Following:

 MarijuanaTHC  (Pot, Aunt Mary, Boom, Dope, Gangster, Grass, Hash, Herb, Mary Jane, Reefer, Weed)

CocaineCOC  (Crack, Big C, Blow, Coke, Flake, Freebase, Lady, Nose candy, Rock, Snow, Snowbirds)

MethamphetaminesmAMP  (Ice, Crystal, Chalk, Crank, Croak, Fire, Glass, Meth, Speed, White Cross)

AmphetaminesAMP  (Bennies, Black beauties, Dexies, Jollies, Speed, Uppers, Ups, Wake-ups)

BenzodiazepinesBZO  (T-bars, Date rape drug, Roofies, Valium, Xanax, Librium)

BarbituratesBAR  (Downers, Reds, treats: anxiety, tension, and sleep disorders)

MorphineMOR  (pain reliever-opiate)

EcstasyMDMA  (Adam, Bean, E, M, Roll, X, XTC)

Methadone MTD  (pain reliever and drug addiction detoxification)

Propoxyphene PPX  (pain reliever)

Buprenorphine BUP  (pain killer and interrupts severe opiate addiction)

OxycodoneOXY (pain reliever)

K2/Spicesynthetic Marijuana

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Getting Support & Advice

The problem of drugs affecting our youth is one that pervades all American families.  You, as a parent or guardian, may be aware of what is going on out there, but you wish to share your thoughts, experiences and concerns.  You may want to learn more, do more, and be better informed.  Be assured; you are not alone!

Parents who have had their children endangered by drugs or have lost them to drugs, and those who have the very same concerns as you have set up support groups to answer your questions, hear your very personal grievances and offer advice on how to handle your particular situation.  Those parents who have the most success in helping their own children frequently are those who help others.

In addition, there are several federal organizations that have been established to help.  Here are some of the excellent resources available:

~Anti Drug.com (www.antidrug.com) or (www.laanitdoga.com) (spanish)

The AntiDrug.com, a site created by ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy), is the government’s most comprehensive Web site to engage and educate parents and other adults about adolescent drug prevention.

~Freevibe.com (www.freevibe.com)

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) created the Freevibe Web site as part of a national effort to prevent or reduce the use of drugs among young people.

~National Families in Action (NFIA) (nationalfamilies.org)

National Families in Action (NFIA) is a private, nonprofit membership organization founded in 1977.  It helped create and lead the parent movement, the first tier of the prevention movement that drove drug use down by two-thirds in adolescents and young adults between 1979 and 1992.  Its goal is to help parents prevent drug abuse in their families and communities.

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  National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nida.nih.gov)

NIDA’s mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.  This charge has two critical components:  The first is the strategic support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines.  The second is to ensure the rapid and effective dissemination and use of the results of that research to significantly improve drug abuse and addiction prevention, treatment, and policy.

~National Youth Anti Drug Media Campaign (www.mediacampaign.com)

The official site for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is sponsored by ONDCP.

~Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) (http://drugfreeamerica.org)

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) is a private non-profit, non-partisan coalition of professionals from the communications industry.  Their mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in America through media communication.

Links for Rehabilitation Centers

~Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.samhsa.gov)

SAMHSA is the Federal agency charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses.  To locate the drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs nearest you, go to:

http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/facilitylocatordoc.htm

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12-Step Groups

 ~Alcoholics Anonymous: (www.alcoholicsanonymous.org)

A free program based on the 12-steps of recovery model, which has multiple group meetings daily worldwide.  Program was founded in 1935 and has grown to more than 2 million members in the United States, Canada, and other countries.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  Primary purpose is to stay sober and help another alcoholic to achieve sobriety.

~Narcotics Anonymous: (www.na.org)

 Another free program based of the same model of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Specifically for drug addicts and drug abusers.

~Cocaine Anonymous: (www.ca.org)

This program is specifically for cocaine addicts and cocaine abusers, based on the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

~Marijuana Anonymous: (www.marijuana-anonymous.org)

 This program is specifically for marijuana addicts and marijuana abusers based on the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

~Chemically Dependent Anonymous: (www.csa.web.org)

This program deals entirely with disease of addiction.  This program does not make distinctions in the recovery process based on any particular substance.

~Nicotine Anonymous: (www.nicotine-anonymous.org)

This 12-step program is specifically for nicotine addicts and for all those that have a desire to stop using nicotine.

~Al-Anon/Alateen: (www.al-anon.alateen.org)

 Al-Anon is designed to help families and friends of alcoholics recover from the effects of living with problem drinking of a relative or friend.  Similarly, Alateen is a recovery program for young people, sponsored by Al-Anon members.  Both are based on a 12-step program.

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———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 The Family Pledge

 

As a member of the ___________________________________ family, we agree to the following family policy regarding the use of illegal drugs.  We understand that drug addiction is a disease, which can have serious physical and emotional consequences – consequences that could hurt me, the family, friends, and those people we associate with.  Given the serious dangers of drug use, we accept and pledge to follow the rules established below regarding the use of drugs.

We pledge to:

1) Set an example and abstain from the use of illegal drugs.

2) Avoid enabling others who use these substances by not covering up or lying about their actions.

3) Never drive with someone known to use illegal substances

4) Discuss thoroughly the effects of drug use, and how we will handle particular situations when and if they should arise.

5) Seek information and assistance in dealing with a drug use problem.

6) Be honest and open about our feelings and problems.  We will all listen to each other and participate in this family policy together.

7) A refusal to take a drug test will be deemed the same as a positive test result.

Consequences for not following rules:

Loss of driving privileges, new curfew is 10 pm, pay your own insurance etc.

 

Signature_____________________________________

 

Signature_____________________________________

 

Date _________________

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This “Family Pledge” is only meant to give you an idea of what it could look like.  Go to www.TestingTeensForDrugs.com home page to get a changeable Family Pledge.  More information is provided there so you can customize it to your families needs.

The best way to confront drug use in adolescents is to bring the issue home to them.  Parents need to initiate a dialogue with their kids about what behaviors are acceptable and what actions will result from not adhering to the family guidelines.  The Family Pledge is offered as a tool to help establish and encourage a stronger family connection.

Parents call a family meeting, sit down with their children and decide together what they think appropriate actions should be for breaking The Pledge – loss of driving privileges, curfew, video games, allowance, computer time etc.  Clients use the Family Pledge as a sort of contract, adding any amendments or changes as desired.  When parents and children sign the contract, they now have a tangible starting point for their renewed commitment to a drug free family.  This is a fresh starting point for the family, without consequences for past actions.  The children are given a new chance to say “No”.  If you discover there is a current on going drug problem a professional should be consulted before starting anything at home.

When talking, make sure things are clear to your children.  For example: Alcohol is a drug which is illegal for all of those under 21 years old.  Also, talk about how you are going to handle certain situations. For example: Your teen gets home from a party and shows signs of being intoxicated.  Your agreement could be to talk about it in the morning.

The critical element in enforcing the guidelines of the pledge and preserving its integrity is drug testing.  Home drug testing is private, reliable, non-invasive and provides immediate results.  Create a random drug testing policy that’s right for your family and stick to it.  The empty threat of testing does not work.  Make a plan then work the plan.  Remember to use the entire experience to grow closer as a family.  It’s about caring, not punishment

Sample Parent to Teen conversation about drug testing:

 “Have a seat; I want to talk with you about something important.  Sometimes I forget how tough it can be growing up.  I think it’s probably more difficult now than it was for me in some ways.  Everything seems to work at a faster pace now than it used to.  You’re going to have some difficult decisions to make as a teen and I want you to make good choices.  As your parent I want to provide the best for you everywhere possible. I know you will make mistakes as I did growing up and continue to as an adult.  I’m not asking for perfection but I do hope you will avoid some of the big mistakes.  I can’t protect you from everything but there are something’s I can do.  After doing some research, I realized I can give you the best tool possible to say no to drugs.  I’ve decided to start drug testing at home, in part, because it will give you an easy way to say, “No, I can’t because my parents test me.”  We are going to talk about this so you can get any questions answered and I want your partnership to help make it work the best way possible.  This is not because I don’t trust you, it’s because I think it’s the right thing to do as a parent.  It’s also not about trying to bust you, it’s about helping you make good decisions.  So let’s talk about it.”

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Drugs of Abuse

                  Alcohol

Street names/Slang terms:

Booze, Jungle-juice, Spirits

What is it and How is it used?

Alcohol is the ordinary name for a substance called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or pure spirits (chemical name, ethanol).  Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is formed by the fermentation of grains or any sweet fruit juice.  An alcoholic drink is any beverage that contains ethyl alcohol in intoxicating quantities.  The amount of alcohol may be as little as 2 percent, as in beers, and or as much as 68 percent, as in absinthe.

Alcoholic content in most alcoholic beverages is measured in proof, which is half of the actual content of alcohol in the drink.  A 90 proof whiskey actually only contains 45 percent alcohol.  Beer is one of the beverages containing the lowest proof.  They range from 2 to 6 percent.  Wines have anywhere from 14 percent or less.

Alcohol is the most commonly used and widely abused psychoactive drug in this country.  It is a legal product for adults to purchase and consume.

ITS Effects:

When a person drinks alcohol, the ethanol is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and enters the bloodstream, which then goes to all the tissues.  The factors that influence alcohol’s effects range from a person’s size and weight to the amount of food that was eaten prior to drinking to the type of alcohol that is consumed.  A single drink can begin to relax a person and their senses, which can make one less inhibited and is why alcohol is used in many social situations; however, a lot of people don’t stop at just one drink.

Immediate effects of alcohol on a person include a lack of coordination, dulled mental processes, slowed reaction time and slurred speech.  Drinking large quantities can lead to sleepiness, disturbed sleep, nausea, and vomiting.  Hangovers are another effect after large amounts of alcohol are consumed; a hangover consists of a headache with nausea, thirst, dizziness, and fatigue.

Prolonged, heavy use of alcohol can lead to an addiction called alcoholism.  Alcoholism is considered a disease, and is characterized by four factors: 1) a strong urge, or need, to drink; 2) the inability to stop drinking once drinking has begun; 3) physical dependence on alcohol, which shows itself in withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, after stopping drinking; and 4) an increased tolerance to alcohol, where one needs to consume greater amounts to get “high”.

An alcoholic can come from any walk of life and be of any age and ethnic group.  Investigations have found that alcoholics use alcohol as a means of escape from the day-to-day pressures of everyday life.  They feel that they cannot cope without the alcohol in their system.  Not all alcoholics are “drunks.”  Some alcoholics don’t even like the taste of alcohol but will still continue to drink in order to cope with life.  Aggressive acts and violent crimes have been linked to alcohol abuse, including domestic violence, murder, rape, and child abuse.

Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol can lead to permanent damage of vital organs, such as the brain and the liver, and ultimately, death.  In addition, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome.  These infants may suffer from mental retardation and other irreversible physical abnormalities.  Research also indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at a greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.

Alcohol impairs teens’ judgment leading to risky behaviors, including having unprotected sex.

 

           Amphetamines

Street names/Slang terms:

Bennies, Black beauties, Dexies, Jollies, Speed, Uppers, Ups, Wake-ups.

What is it and How is it used?

Amphetamines are stimulants that affect the central nervous system of the body, causing reactions similar to cocaine.  The effect is not as immediate, but it is more prolonged.

Amphetamines are synthetically reproduced in a laboratory, and are frequently ingested in a pill form, and inhaled or injected.

ITS effects:

Amphetamines may produce euphoria, while increasing feelings of sexuality and invigoration. Increased talkativeness, aggressiveness, heart rate, and blood pressure, as well as dilated pupils, hallucinations, and compulsive and repetitive actions are some of the effects this drug may have on the user.  In addition, because of their stimulating, “speed” effect, amphetamines are commonly used as appetite suppressants.  They interfere with normal sleep patterns, decrease fatigue and the need for sleep.

Amphetamines and cocaine produce markedly similar psychological effects, including excitability, progressively severe anxiety and confusion, and ultimately, paranoia.  Vivid visual, auditory, and olfactory hallucinations, delusions of persecution, body image changes, and sometimes picking and excoriating of the skin characterize the fully developed amphetamine psychosis.  In chronic amphetamine users, this psychosis may be difficult to distinguish from a schizophrenic reaction, especially when the physical signs are not apparent.

The effects of large doses can produce a whole range of health problems in users.  The speed aspect of the drug causes the body to almost literally burn itself out.  It makes the body run harder and longer than it was ever supposed to.  Since speed takes away the desire for food, malnutrition occurs.  Teeth and bones are quickly affected, as are the heart, liver, and lungs.  An increased tolerance and dependence on amphetamines can lead to violent and aggressive behaviors.  Amphetamines can be addictive.

 

                  Cocaine

Street names/Slang terms:

Big C, Blow, Coke, Crack, Flake, Freebase, Lady, Nose candy, Rock, Snow, Snowbirds

What is it and How is it used?

Cocaine is an alkaloid extracted from the leaf of the coca bush (Erythroxylum coca), which is cultivated at high altitudes in Columbia, Peru, and other Andean countries.  Cocaine is a powerful stimulant

When cocaine is processed into a white powder, it can be absorbed into the blood stream by the mucous membranes of the body.  The chemical acts directly on the instinctive pleasure centers of the brain to produce a surge of energy, pleasure and a sense of confidence that lasts about 20 minutes.  A user, who wants to maintain the high, takes one dose after another.  As a result, the body develops a tolerance to cocaine and a strong dependence on it.  When animals are taught to medicate themselves with cocaine, they will ignore food, water, and a receptive mate and continue to compulsively administer the drug until death – usually from cocaine-induced seizures.

Users will snort cocaine through the nose, inject it directly into the bloodstream, or inhale the fumes of a specially prepared cocaine base, call “free-basing,” where absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as by injection.  “Crack” is an example of cocaine, which has been prepared for smoking or “free-basing.”

ITS effects:

Cocaine’s immediate effects include dilated pupils, increased temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, feelings of restlessness, irritability and anxiety.  Its euphoric effects, such as energy and a mental clarity, depend on how it is used.  The faster the absorption, the more intense the high.  The more intense the high, the shorter-lived it is.  The high from snorting may last from 15 to 30 minutes, while smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes.  Cocaine withdraws rapidly from the brain, making the user feel depressed, irritable and fatigued.  This “coke crash” reinforces the brain’s craving for a repeated dose to reduce the withdrawal symptoms.

High doses and/or regular usage can lead to many health problems, such as sinusitis, damage to vocal cords, ulceration of nasal membranes, dental infection, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiencies.  Users frequently become paranoid.  Injecting, smoking and snorting have killed people through cardiac arrest, irregular heart rhythms, breathing problems, and convulsions.

 

               Ecstasy

Street names/Slang terms:

Adam, Bean, E, Ecstasy, M, Roll, X, XTC

 What is it and How is it used?

Ecstasy is a synthetic drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties.  Its chemical name is a 3-4 methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine or MDMA.  Since it is synthesized in clandestine laboratories, its purity can vary from lab to lab, and other compounds are easily combined into the same tablet, like caffeine, ephedrine and ketamine.

The nerve pathway that is affected by Ecstasy is called the serotonin pathway.  Serotonin is involved in the regulation of several processes within the brain, including mood, emotions, aggression, sleep, appetite, anxiety, memory and perceptions, and sweating and heat regulation.

It comes in a tablet form and is ingested, frequently at all-night dance parties called “raves,” to keep one’s energy level up and for its mood enhancement effects.  “Stacking” is a common practice, where users will take multiple doses of Ecstasy in one night to reinforce its effects.

ITS Effects:

The chemical structure of Ecstasy allows it to reach the brain quickly after ingestion.  Taken on an empty stomach, its effects can be felt as quickly as 15 minutes.  The most desirable effect of Ecstasy is its ability to provide feelings of warmth and empathy.  Physical symptoms can include muscle tension, involuntary grinding of teeth, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating.

Ecstasy is an unusual drug.  Even after the drug itself has been flushed from the body, it still has effects that continue to develop and persist.  These often include the development of depression-like feelings, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and sleep disturbances.  These “after-effects” occur because of the chemical change that takes place at the serotonin synapse.

Chronic use of MDMA has been found, first in laboratory animals and more recently in humans, to produce long-lasting, perhaps permanent, damage to the neurons that release serotonin, and thus, verbal and visual memory impairment.

In addition, Ecstasy inhibits normal sweating, which cools the body.  Because of this, the body may overheat, especially when used at dance parties, and the person can have a heat seizure and stop breathing.  They may have heart irregularities, too, because of the overheating, and this combination is the most frequent cause for death.

 

              Heroin           (Heroin overdoses have been on the rise the past few years)

Street names/Slang terms:

Big H, Black Tar, Brown Sugar, China White, Dope, H, Horse, Junk, Mud, Skag, Smack

 What is it and How is it used?

Heroin is a highly addictive and very dangerous drug derived from morphine, which is obtained from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant.  It is a “downer” that affects the brain’s pleasure systems and interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain.

Heroin usually appears as a white to dark brown powder, or as a tar-like substance.  Some varieties are nicknamed for the geographical area in which the heroin is produced, such as “Mexican Black Tar.”

Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, depending on user preference and the purity of the drug.  Heroin can be injected into a vein, called “mainlining,” smoked in a water pipe or a standard pipe, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette, inhaled as smoke through a straw, known as “chasing the dragon,” or snorted as a powder through the nose.  Smoking and snorting heroin is becoming increasingly popular, because the purity of street heroin is greater than in previous years, alongside the misconception that these forms will not lead to addiction.

Its Effects

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours.  The user reports a surge of euphoria, or “rush,” accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities.   Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod,” an alternately wakeful and drowsy state.  Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system.  Other effects included slowed and slurred speech, slow gait, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, vomiting, and constipation.

Chronic users may develop serious health conditions, such as collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulites, and liver disease.  Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.

In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain.  This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.

Heroin abuse can result in fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

 

            Inhalants

Street names/Slang terms:

Laughing Gas, Poppers, Rush, Snappers, Whippets

What is it and How is it used?

Inhalants are everyday household products that are being misused by children to get high by being sniffed or inhaled.  At last count, there are over 1400 products on the market that are being abused.  Examples include model airplane glue, nail polish remover, cleaning fluids, hair spray, gasoline, the propellant in aerosol whipped cream, spray paint, fabric protector, air conditioner fluid (freon), cooking spray and correction fluid.

The chemical vapors of these products are sniffed or snorted through the nose, “bagged” (inhaling fumes from a plastic bag), or “huffed” (stuffing an inhalant soaked rag into the mouth).  Many people do not think of inhalants as drugs, because most of the products were never intended to be used that way.

ITS Effects:

Nearly all inhalants produce effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down body functions, yet the user feels stimulated.  These intoxicating effects can last from a few minutes to several hours, if the inhalant is used repeatedly.  Other effects include nausea, loss of appetite, bad breath, double vision, runny or bloody nose, lack of coordination, feeling and looking tired, eye irritation, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, chest pain, ringing in the ears, and an erratic heart beat.

Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce heart failure and death.  This is especially common from the abuse of fluorocarbons and butane-type gases.  High concentrations of inhalants also can cause death from suffocation by displacing the oxygen in the lungs and the central nervous system, so that breathing ceases.  Other irreversible effects caused by inhaling specific solvents are hearing loss, limb spasms, central nervous system or brain damage.  Serious but potentially irreversible effects include liver and kidney damage and blood oxygen depletion.  Death from inhalants is usually caused by a very high concentration of fumes, and can occur on the very first use.

Visit: http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-information/commonly-abused-drugs/inhalants-huffing/default.aspx to learn more.

 

            Ketamine   (Date Rape Drug)

Street names/Slang terms:

Breakfast Cereal, Date Rape Drug, Ketaject, Ketalar, New Ecstasy, Psychedelic Heroin, Special-K, Super-K, Vitamin K

What is it and How is used?

Ketamine hydrochloride is a short-acting, hallucinogenic, ‘disassociative’ anesthetic.  The anesthesia is the result of the patient being so ‘disassociated’ and ‘removed from their body’ that it is possible to carry out surgical procedures.  This is wholly different from the ‘unconsciousness’ produced by conventional anesthetics, although ketamine is also an excellent analgesic (pain killer) by a different route (i.e. not due to dissociation).  Ketamine is related to phencyclidine (PCP).  In contrast to PCP, ketamine is relatively safe, is much shorter acting, and is still marketed in the US and a number of foreign countries as a general anesthetic in both human and veterinary medicine.

Ketamine is sold as an injectable liquid, which can be converted into a white powder, similar to cocaine, which is then re-packaged into small clear bags or capsules.  Generally, ketamine is snorted, but sometimes it is added into tobacco or marijuana and smoked.  “Special K” refers to ketamine used in combination with other drugs, such as Ecstasy, heroin, and cocaine.

ITS Effects:

Most people snort small lines or “bumps” for a mild, dreamy effect.  The effect comes on within about 5 to 10 minutes.  If swallowed, the effects come on in 10 to 20 minutes.  Numbness in the extremities is also common.

Higher doses produce a hallucinogenic effect, and may cause the user to feel very far away from their body.  A lost sense of time is common.  This experience is often referred to as entering a “K-hole” and has been compared to a near death experience with sensations of rising above one’s body.  While in a K-hole, it is very difficult to move, and people usually remain seated or lying down during the experience.  However, these near overdose experiences also can cause delirium, impaired motor function, potentially fatal respiratory problems, convulsions, and vomiting.

Visit: http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-information/commonly-abused-drugs/date-rape-drugs.aspx to learn more about “date rape” drugs.

 

            K2 – Spice    (Synthetic Marijuana)

What, exactly, is “Spice”?

Known by a variety of names including Zohai, Genie, K3, Bliss, Nice, Black Mamba, Incense, and even fake weed, Spice is a mixture of plant leaves and stems that have been laced with synthetic chemicals. It’s sold in colorful three-ounce plastic pouches decorated with psychedelic designs. But the drug is not as fun and lighthearted as it appears. Experts point out that due to the variation in chemical additives used in Spice, K2, and other synthetics, users don’t know exactly what they’re getting in each packet and the effects can therefore be unpredictable.

Source:http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2012/06/13/spice-vs-bath-salts-the-other-designer-drug-scare/

What are the street names/slang terms?

The most common names for synthetic marijuana are K2 and Spice, but it is also sold as Bliss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Blaze, Genie, Spice, Zohai, JWH -018, -073, -250, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and Moon Rocks.

What is synthetic marijuana?

K2 or Spice is a mixture of herbs, spices or shredded plant material that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

What does it look like?

K2 is typically sold in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It is said to resemble potpourri.

How is it used?

K2 products are usually smoked in joints or pipes, but some users make it into a tea.

What are its short term effects?

Short term effects include loss of control, lack of pain response, increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled / spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations. The onset of this drug is 3-5 minutes, and the duration of the high is 1-8 hours.
In addition to physical signs of use, users may experience: dysphoria, severe paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and increased agitation.

What are its long term effects?

Unknown

What is its federal classification?

On March 1, 2011, DEA published a final order in the Federal Register temporarily placing five synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the CSA. As a result of this order, the full effect of the CSA and its implementing regulations including criminal, civil and administrative penalties, sanctions, and regulatory controls of Schedule I substances will be imposed on the manufacture, distribution, possession, importation and exportation of these synthetic cannabinoids.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Institute on Drug Abuse, American Association of Poison Control Centers

 

                 LSD

 Street names/Slang terms:

Acid, Doses, Hits, Microdot, Sugar Cubes, Tabs, Trips

What is it and How is it used?

LSD is synthesized from lysergic acid, which is found in the fungus on rye and other grains.  LSD is also the most potent mood and perception-altering drug known: oral doses as small as 30 micrograms can produce effects that last 6 to 12 hours.

It is initially produced in a crystalline form, which is then crushed into a powder and mixed with binding agents to produce tablets known as “microdots” or thin squares of gelatin called “window panes.”  More commonly, it is applied to sheets of paper called “blotter paper,” which is then cut-up into 1/4 inch squares for individual usage.  The color of LSD can range from clear or white, which is its purest form, all the way to black, due to various manufacturing techniques and contaminants.  Even uncontaminated LSD begins to degrade and discolor soon after it’s manufactured; thus, drug dealers frequently apply LSD to colored paper to hide the drug’s purity or age.

All LSD manufactured in this country is intended for illegal use, since LSD has no accepted medical use in the United States.

ITS Effects:

LSD’s effects typically begin within 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion and may last up to 12 hours.  Users refer to the hallucinogenic experience as a “trip,” and to negative reactions as a “bad trip.”  Basically, the effects of LSD are unpredictable.  They vary with amount taken, and the user’s personality, mood, expectations, and surroundings.

Some effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, dizziness, loss of appetite, dry mouth, sweating, nausea, numbness, and tremors.  However, most of the dramatic changes are emotional and sensory.  The user’s emotional state may swing dramatically from one end of the spectrum to the other, and have such rapid transitions the user may seem to experience several emotions simultaneously.  In addition, sensory perceptions may overlap in a phenomenon known as “synesthesia,” which gives the person the feeling of hearing colors and seeing noises.

Often, visual and aural hallucinations take place, and the person may be disoriented, not knowing where they are, the time it is, or may perceive their own body physically changing.  These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.

One long-term effect of LSD is the experience of “flashbacks.”  Days later, even up to a year later, the user may suddenly, often without warning, have a recurrence of certain aspects of a previous “trip.”  But users who used the drug only once have also noted this effect.

LSD is not considered an addictive drug, because it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior like cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, or nicotine.  More users voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time.

 

           Marijuana

 Street names/ Slang terms:

Aunt Mary, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Kif, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Weed

What is it and How is it used?

Marijuana is the most frequently used illegal drug in the United States today.  It is made from the leaves and shredded flowers of the Indian hemp plant, called Cannabis sativa.  Of the 421 active chemicals found in the plant, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most powerful, slowly releasing a fat-soluble substance that is absorbed by the user and can be detected for 3 to 4 weeks after ingestion.  In addition, because of advanced techniques of genetic selection and high intensity lighting, the THC levels of marijuana today may be 15 to 20 items stronger than that available just 20 years ago.  An example of this is the Sinsemilla variety produced and favored by heavy users.

Most users roll loose marijuana into cigarette-form, called a “joint,” or smoke it in a pipe.  One well-known type of water pipe is the “bong.”  Marijuana can also be eaten, usually mixed into a food, or brewed as a tea.  Another method is to slice open a cigar and replace the tobacco with marijuana, making what’s called a “blunt.”

A more concentrated form of marijuana is known as “hash” (or hashish), and is the result of removing the dark brown resin from the leaves of the plant and compressing it into cakes or sheets.  Hash oil, obtained by the further refinement or extraction of cannabis, is its most potent form, containing as much as 50% THC.

ITS Effect:

The specific effects of marijuana use vary from user to user, according to the users’ mood, expectations and prior experience with pot and other drugs.  Often, first time users do not experience any effect at all.  Immediate effects of use generally include a feeling of well-being, relaxation, and drowsiness.  Effects may also include exhilaration, arousal, and spontaneous laughter.  Physical effects can be increased heart and pulse rate, dry mouth, and red, puffy eyes.  Marijuana has been shown to have a temporary effect on the production and quality of sperm in males.  Smoking marijuana also causes a decrease in the level of testosterone, the male sex hormone.  This can particularly affect a developing fetus, as well as male growth and sexual development during adolescence.

The effects of marijuana may include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception of time, distance and sensory perceptions, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination, increased heart pressure, and anxiety.  Users may experience mild to severe confusion and disorientation, as well as decreased ability to concentrate, poor memory recall, and lowered intellectual performance.

Tolerance to marijuana can develop requiring the user to ingest larger doses to get the same effect.  Frequent high-dose users may experience some physiological dependence.  Chronic use can also cause Amotivational Syndrome: its symptoms are loss of drive and increase in passivity and sluggishness.

 To take a virtual tour of how marijuana effects the brain go to: http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-information/drug-effects-on-the-brain/default.aspx

  

     Methamphetamine

 Street names/Slang terms:

Chalk, Crank, Croak, Crypto, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Ice, Meth, Speed, White Cross

What is it and How is it used?

Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that dramatically affects the central nervous system.  The drug was developed early in this century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers.  It is now available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled.  There are a few accepted medical reasons for its use, such as the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and for short-term use of obesity; these medical uses are limited.

Meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol, and can also come in large rock-like chunk form.  When the powder flakes off the rock, it has the appearance of glass.

Methamphetamine can be taken orally, injected, snorted, and smoked.  Research has shown that where the user is located geographically is a big factor on how that user will use it.  In San Francisco, for example, injection is the preferred route; in Honolulu, it’s smoking.  Snorting the drug, however, irritates the nose, and smoking is hard on the throat and lungs.  Smoking, along with injection that is the fastest way to deliver the drug to the brain.

ITS Effects:

Methamphetamine’s chemical structure is similar to that of amphetamine, but it has more pronounced effects on the central nervous system.  Like amphetamine, it causes increased activity, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being.  The effects of methamphetamine can last 6 to 8 hours.  After the initial “rush,” there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent behavior.

Meth is addictive, and users can develop a tolerance quickly, needing larger amounts to get high, and going on longer binges.  Some users avoid sleep for 3 to 15 days while binging.  Prolonged meth use can induce symptoms of paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive behavior, and delusions of parasites or insects under the skin.  Users often obsessively scratch their skin to get rid of these imagined insects.  New research also shows that those who use methamphetamine risk long-term damage to their brain cells similar to that caused by strokes or Alzheimer’s disease.

 

            Opiates

Brand/Generic names:

Codeine, Darvon, Fentanyl, Heroin, Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), Meperidine (Demerol), Methadone (Dolophine), Morphine, Opium, Oxycodone (Percodan), Oxymorphone (Numorphan), Talwin

Street names/Slang terms:

Big H, Black Tar, Boy, Brown Sugar, China White, Chiva, Goma, Crown Crap, Dolls, Dollies, Downtown, Doogie, Drug Store Heroin, George Smack, Gumball, H, Hairy, Hard Stuff, Harry, Hazel, Henry, Him, Horse, Horse Radish, Joy Powder, Junk, M, Mexican Brown, Miss Emma, Morf, Morpho, Mud, Muzzle, Scag, Schmeck, Schoolboy, Shit, Smack, Tecata, White Lady

What is it and How is it used?

Opiates are a group of drugs, which are used medically to relieve pain, but also have a high potential for abuse.  Some opiates, like opium and heroin, come from the resin of the seed pod found inside the Asian poppy plant.  Other opiates, such as meperidine, or Demerol, are synthesized and manufactured.

Opium appears as dark brown chunks or as a powder, and is usually smoked or eaten.  Heroin can be a white to brownish powder, which is frequently dissolved in water and injected.  Other opiates come in a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, syrups, solutions, and suppositories.

Heroin accounts for the majority of the opiate abuse in the United States, although opiates with legal medicinal use, i.e., prescription drugs, are also misused.

Visit: http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-information/otc-prescription-drug-abuse/default.aspx to learn more about prescription drug abuse.

ITS Effects:

Opiates tend to relax the user, and these analgesics can also cause sedation, slowed reflexes, raspy speech, sluggish movements, slowed breathing, cold skin, and vomiting.  Over time and continued usage, a user will build a tolerance to the drug, needing more of it to get high.

The physical dangers depend on the specific opiate used, its source, the dose, and the way it is used.  Most of the dangers are caused by using too much of the drug, unsterile needles, contaminants within the drug, and combining the drug with other substances.  Continuous use can result in addiction.  With very large doses, the user cannot be awakened, pupils become smaller, and the skin becomes cold, moist, and bluish in color.  Breathing slows down and death may occur.

 

                    PCP

 Street names/Slang terms:

Angel Dust, Embalming Fluid, Killer Weed, Rocket Fuel, Super grass

What is it and How is it used?

Phencyclidine (PCP) was originally developed in the 1950’s to be used as an anesthesia.  However, it was discontinued in 1965, because patients often became delusional and agitated to the point where they could cause personal injury to themselves when they were recovering from the effects of this drug.

PCP in its pure form is a white crystalline powder that readily dissolves in water. Most PCP on the illegal market is contaminated due to makeshift manufacturing and varies in color from tan to brown, and the consistency from a powder to a gummy mass.

PCP is sold as capsules, tablets and colored powders that are often used in one of three ways – snorting, smoking or eating it.  When it is smoked, PCP is often applied to a leafy material, such as mint, parsley, oregano, tobacco, or marijuana.  Many people who use PCP may do it unknowingly, because PCP is often used as an additive and can be found in marijuana, LSD, or methamphetamine.  It is detectable in the body for 7 to 9 days after usage.

ITS Effects:

The range of effects of PCP on the mind appears to vary with the size of the dose administered.  Doses of 2 to 5 mg typically produce a mild depression, followed by stimulation.  Approximately 10 mg produces the sensory-deprived state desired by most users, while doses of 20 mg or more can result in catatonia, coma and convulsions.  Large doses may produce seizures, respiratory depression and cardiac instability.

Physiological effects at high doses include visual and occasionally auditory hallucinations.  PCP may have effects that mimic certain symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions, mental turmoil, and a sensation of distance from one’s environment.  Speech is frequently distorted.  The user may also become aggressive and violent.  Death can occur from respiratory arrest, convulsions, brain hemorrhage, fatal accidents, murder, suicide, self-mutilation, and drowning from swimming under the influence to enhance the floating sensation.

 

       Prescription Drugs

 Street names/Slang terms:

Barbiturates, Benzos, Downers, Stimulants, Uppers

What is it and How is it used?

In a report from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “in 1999, an estimated 4 million people, about 2 percent of the population age 12 and older, were currently (use in the past month) using prescription drugs non-medically.  Of these 2.6 million misused pain relievers, 1.3 million are sedatives and tranquilizers, and .9 million are stimulants.”

Some of the sharpest increases in user groups occurred in 12 to 17 and 18 to 25-year-olds according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.  Among 12 – 14-year-olds, psychotherapeutics (e.g., painkillers, tranquilizers, sedatives, and stimulants) were reported to be one of two primary drugs used.

While many prescription drugs can be misused, there are three classes that are most commonly abused: opioids, which are prescribed to treat pain; CNS depressants, which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorder; and stimulants, prescribed to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder.  Prescription drugs are an attractive alternative to street drugs for many users, because there is a higher likelihood of an accurate dosage and purity.

Although some prescription drugs are smuggled into the country or stolen from distributors, a large portion comes from medical offices and pharmacies.  For adolescents, the home medicine cabinet becomes an initial source for experimentation.

Non-medical use of prescription drugs can lead to addiction.

 ITS Effects:

Opiates, like morphine and codeine, are effective pain relievers.  These drugs attach to certain opiate receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which allows them to block the transmission of pain messages to the brain.  In addition, opiate drugs affect other areas of the brain resulting in a pleasurable feeling, or a rush of euphoria, that is short-lived.  They also cause drowsiness, constipation, and depending on the dosage, can depress breathing.  A large single dose can cause severe respiratory problems or may be fatal.

CNS depressants act on the neurotransmitters in the brain to slow down brain activity, which in turn produces a drowsy or calming effect on the user.  Barbiturates are used to treat anxiety, tension, and sleep disorders.   Benzodiazepines are prescribed for acute stress reactions and panic attacks, as well as overall anxiety and sleep disorders.

These drugs can be addictive and should be used only as prescribed.  Often, the abuse of CNS depressants occurs in conjunction with the abuse of another substance or drug, such as alcohol or cocaine.  The effects of these combined substances can slow breathing, or slow both the heart and respiration, making the user susceptible to a seizure and possible death.

Stimulants increase the levels of chemicals in the brain and body, and in turn, increase alertness, attention, and energy, alongside increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.  These days, stimulants are prescribed for treating only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression that has not responded to other treatments.

The consequences of stimulant abuse can be dangerous and addictive.  Feelings of hostility and paranoia can develop in some individuals.  Taking high doses can result in an irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperatures, and/or the potential for cardiovascular failure or lethal seizures.

 

     Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic)

Street names/Slang terms:

Juice, Rhoids

What is it and How is it used?

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made substances related to the male sex hormone, testosterone. “Anabolic” refers to muscle-building, and “androgenic” refers to increased masculine characteristics.

Steroids are available legally by prescription to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low amounts of testosterone, such as delayed puberty and some types of impotence.  They are also used to treat body wasting in patients with AIDS and other diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass.  However, athletes and others abuse steroids to enhance their physical performance and their appearance and use these drugs illegally.

Steroids come in both tablet and liquid form.  They are taken orally or injected, typically in cycles of weeks or months, called “cycling”.   Users will take steroids for a specific period of time, stop for a while, and then start again.  Frequently, users will combine, or “stack,” different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness, while minimizing their negative effects.

ITS Effects:

The main reason people turn to steroids is based on the reports that these drugs will increase their lean muscle mass, strength, and ability to train longer and harder.  However, there are numerous side effects, many of which are irreversible.

The major effects of steroid abuse are liver and kidney tumors, jaundice, fluid retention, high blood pressure, severe acne, and increased cholesterol count.  In addition, there are several gender-specific side effects.  In men, shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts and increased risk of prostate cancer can occur.  Woman may notice the growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in or cessation of their menstrual cycle, and a deepened voice.  Adolescents may prematurely halt their growth by affecting their skeletal maturation.  They risk remaining short the remainder of their lives, if they take anabolic steroids before the typical adolescent growth spurt.

Scientific research has also shown that users may exhibit signs of paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.

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How Long Do Drugs Remain In the Body?

 

 Drug Name  Street Name  Approximate Retention Time
 

Amphetamines

 

Speed, Eye, Ecstasy, Crystal, Uppers  2 to 3 days
 

Barbiturates

 

 Reds, Downers  Up to 3 weeks
 

Benzodiazephine

 

 Valium Derivatives  3 days
 

Cannabinoids

 

 Marijuana, Grass, Pot, Hash  3 to 35 days
 

Cocaine

 

 Coke, Crack, Snow  2 to 5 days
 

Methadone

 

 3 days
 

Methaqualone

 

 Quaalude  14 days
 

Opiates

 

 Heroin, Morphine  2 to 3 days
 

Phencyclidine

 

 PCP, Angel Dust  7 to 9 days

 

Drug testing does not measure whether a person is able to function effectively under the effects of an ingested drug.  Testing concerns itself only with the presence or absence of the substance.  The time frames above are estimates for urine based testing.

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