Tag Archives: kids and drugs


The Dangers of Inhalants

Parents worry about their teenagers experimenting with drugs on the street or at school, but many  never stop to consider their teen may be getting high from products found in their own home.

The facts:
•    Younger teenagers are finding that household products can provide a cheap high.
•    Inhalants are popular among the 8th grade crowd, due to their availability.
•    One in ten Arizona 8th graders  has tried an inhalant

So parents, what do you need to know?
There are three main types of inhalants: solvents, gases and nitrates. Inhalants can be found in a range of products, like paint thinners, glues, cleaning products, nail polish removers, gases, lighter fluids and aerosol sprays. These are favored among young teenagers because they are easily accessible and give off a mood-altering high.
Like many other drugs, there are different ways to get high off of inhalants. Teenagers usually sniff or snort fumes from containers, paper and plastic bags, spray aerosols directly into the nose or “huffing” from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in or over their mouth. The extreme side-effects from inhalants can occur on first use or after prolonged abuse.  Side-effects include increased heart rate, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, and slurred speech.  People who become long-term users of inhalants are more likely to suffer from brain damage, muscle weakness, chronic headaches, depression and loss of hearing or smell. Serious injuries can occur while someone is high on inhalants. A person can get high on these inhalants, and make poor decisions, such as driving, and can seriously injure themselves or another person.
The most common cause of death from inhalant use is known as “sudden sniffing death.” This can happen even the first time that someone tries an inhalant. Once someone inhales the toxic fumes, the heart beats quickly and irregularly, and suddenly stops. Other causes of death include asphyxia, choking (on vomit), suffocation (when a plastic bag is used to increase the amount inhaled) and suicide (from depression).
How to keep your kids safe:
Keep an eye on all household cleaners with harsh chemical smells. Also keep an eye out for disappearing glue, paint or aerosol sprays. Talk with your teenager to see if there is a change in mood or behavior.  Teenagers using inhalants will also have dilated pupils, extreme exhaustion, frequent vomiting and facial rashes and blisters.
DrugFreeAz.org offers parent workshops, webinars and other resources to help provide parents with the tools they need to keep their teen safe and substance free.

For more tips on talking to teens and information about prevention, visit DrugFreeAZ.org.


Daddy Duties: A father’s role in drug prevention

Let’s face it, the duties of a father are never-ending. Whether you’re a dad or the person that plays dad in your family, providing for and keeping your child healthy and happy are an integral part to fatherhood.

At times, daddy duties can be overwhelming but rest assured: fatherhood is more than the sleepless nights and being the occasional chauffeur to a pack of rowdy kids. Fatherhood is an opportunity to be a powerful influence in your child’s life.

As your child or children mature from childhood to their teenage years and later on into adulthood, they will need you to help, not just provide – but also to help teach them about life and guide them to make good decisions that lead to a healthy, happy life.

So, whether you are a new father or a parent to teens, you’re not alone in this journey. This Father’s Day, DrugFreeAz.org wants to remind fathers of their duty to their children and encourage them to make proactive parenting an integral part of each day.

So, where do you start?

If you look at parenting as a relationship, then the time and interaction spent directly affects the quality of that relationship.

Fathers should make spending time with their children a part of each and every day. Get to know who they are and allow them to get to know you. This means experiencing each other in as many situations as possible. Participate in the little things from bath time to homework and start forming a strong relationship at a young age. And because children begin to recognize their parents’ actions at this time, being a role model is important at well.

According to research from the Partnership at DrugFree.org, children are 50 percent less likely to become involved with drugs if their parents talk early and often about substance abuse.

Try initiating conversation during some father-bonding time; during a game in the backyard or while cooking dinner are perfect times to start conversation with your child. Take the time to talk often to your child about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Use current events and other day-to-day opportunities to start the conversation. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about choices you made in the past.

Other teachable moments include using the following to start conversation:

•    Drug related current events
•    Television, radio and magazines
•    The drive to and from school
•    The drive to and from sports

When children become teenagers they are faced with pressure from their peers and society. DrugFreeAz.org recommends creating a family contract to help set rules, define expectations and keep your teen safe.

Use a family contract to help keep lines of communication open and expectations defined. Set up a contract with rules and discuss the punishments for breaking those rules up front. Also, discuss ways to avoid and handle potential drug and alcohol related scenarios that may put them in a bad situation.

Remember, it’s not a matter of if – but when – your child will be asked to try drugs and alcohol. Prepare your child by talking to them about ways to say “no” before the drug or alcohol-related scenario happens.

No matter how busy your life can get, it’s important to remember parenting is a full-time job. Whether you’re the breadwinner or a stay-at-home dad, being a proactive father and teaching your children how to make healthy decisions should be an important part of your every day.

DrugFreeAz offers parent workshops, webinars and other resources to help provide parents with the tools they need to keep their teen safe and substance free.

For more parenting tips, visit DrugFreeAz.org.


Your Kids and Synthetic Drugs: Things Parents Need to Know

As our kids gear up for a summer of fun ahead, parents need to be aware of the synthetic drugs available to kids. Some of the most common right now include N-bomb, bath salts and spice, which are street names for substances like synthetic marijuana, psychoactive plants, harmful powders and synthetic hallucinogens similar to LSD.

While the names may change, these fad substances are still just as dangerous and as relevant as ever.

According to DrugFreeAz.org, poison and drug information centers around the state have seen an increase in calls involving synthetic drugs since 2010. This is in addition to the documented reports of teens being hospitalized in Arizona from synthetic drug use.

Additionally, research shows that nearly 1 in 10 kids in Maricopa Country between the ages of 12 and 18 are using synthetic drugs.

With this number on the rise, DrugFreeAz.org is asking parents to talk to their teens this summer and take steps to make sure teens know the dangers of these and other drugs.
So, what’s the appeal to youth?

According to the “Synthetic Drugs” guide for parents created by the City of Phoenix Police Department in partnership with DrugFreeAz.org, synthetic products are popular among young people for the following reasons:

•    They are easily accessible
•    The chemicals used in the drugs are often not as easily detected in standard drug tests
•    There is a misconception that many of the substances are “natural”
•    The drugs are often perceived to be legal

139690190Where do parents begin?

The first line of defense is education so that parents are aware and can then educate their families.

•    What exactly are synthetic drugs? Their labels often claim they contain “natural” ingredients taken from a variety of plants, but are actually are a mix of dried, shredded plant material along with manmade chemicals that cause mind-altering effects.

•    What are the side effects? According to a recent webinar by DrugFreeAz.org, synthetic drug side effects are unpredictable due to their inconsistent makeup, but can include any combination of hallucinations, severe agitation, seizures, paranoia, loss of control, violent or aggressive tendencies or elevated heart rate and blood pressure.

•    That’s just the beginning. Parents can use resources like the DrugFreeAz.org website, webinars and parent workshops to help stay informed about synthetic drugs and other substance threats facing our kids so that you can help keep your child safe.

158047916The key piece for parents is to remember you matter. Talk early and often to your child, and don’t forget that each day is an opportunity to provide your child with valuable information that can keep them healthy, happy, and above all, safe.

For more information about synthetic drugs, parenting tips, or to find out about workshops available to parents, visit www.drugfreeaz.org.

By Shelly Mowrey