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Teen Drug Abuse

How to Take Action During National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 19, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Stop Medicine Abuse

Help Your Teens StopMedAbuseGirl-300x202 How to Take Action During National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month As National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month (NMAAM) approaches, I want to take some time to help inform other parents about over-the-counter (OTC) medicine abuse and the corresponding risks.

It can be easy to overlook the potential dangers of misusing medicines that are legal and readily-available, but it’s important to recognize that these medicines can be harmful when abused… as some kids are doing.

Specifically, I want to highlight the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM). While these medicines are safe and effective when used as directed, one in 30 teens have abused DXM to get high. Furthermore, one in 3 teens knows of someone who has abused DXM, which means there’s a pretty good chance that your teen knows another teen who has abused the substance.

What’s even more alarming? Some teens abuse OTC cough medicine by taking up to 25x the recommended dose, which can lead to dangerous side effects such as disorientation, double or blurred vision and impaired physical coordination. It’s certainly uncomfortable to think about, but I’m comforted knowing that the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign is actively working to alert parents and community members of this issue.

As a parent, I know that we all want to keep our families safe. Here are four things you can do during NMAAM to prevent medicine abuse in your home and community:

  1. Educate yourself. Learn about the warning signs and side effects of abuse to ensure it doesn’t go unnoticed in your home. Keep an ear out for slang terms and an eye out for changes in your teen’s behavior, physical appearance or group of friends.
  2. Take inventory of the medicines in your home. If you regularly keep tabs on what you have, you’ll be able to more easily notice when something goes missing without explanation.

Help Your Teens STopMedAbuse3 How to Take Action During National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

To identify medicines that contain DXM, check the active ingredients list on the Drug Facts label and look for the above icon on the packaging.

  1. Talk with your teen. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but teens who learn about the risks of substance abuse from their parents are 50% less likely to misuse. Once you have the talk, be sure to keep the door open for an ongoing dialogue.
  2. Inform others. Talk with parents, teachers and other members of your community. Share what you’ve learned to make sure they are aware of the dangers of substance abuse and what they can do to prevent it.

For more information on how to prevent medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Contributor: Anita Brikman joined the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) in 2016 and leads the association’s communications and public affairs functions. As a member of the senior management team, she is responsible for establishing and directing the organization’s communications strategies and goals. Anita is passionate about healthcare issues, with over two decades of experience as a news anchor and health reporter in major television markets – making medicine abuse awareness and prevention efforts important to her. She is also the mother of three teenagers.

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Preventing Teen Medicine Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 02, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Preventing Teen Medicine Abuse

Help Your Teens StopMedAbuse6-300x157 Preventing Teen Medicine Abuse Awareness of a problem is the first step to solving it. Parents were recently spreading the word about teen over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Although October has come and gone, we can still continue to spread awareness and help other parents of teenagers just like us become aware of this serious issue.

While the abuse of OTC medicines doesn’t often receive the same media attention as the abuse of alcohol, marijuana or prescription medications, it’s still a common practice among today’s teens. In fact, one in 25 teenagers reports getting “high” by consuming up to 25 times the suggested amount of cough medicine.

Help Your Teens Stopmedabuse65-300x165 Preventing Teen Medicine Abuse Why the abuse of cough medicine?

Many teens believe that abusing cough medicine is less harmful than using other drugs because it’s legal and easy to attain. Unfortunately, they’re misinformed. Most cough medicine contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM), which has dangerous effects when taken in excess, such as hallucinations, vomiting, sweating and memory loss. The risks only get worse when DXM is combined with other substances, such as drugs or alcohol.

Here’s another problem. Due to the fact that cough medicine can be obtained easily and inexpensively, it’s an attractive choice for teen users. It’s also much easier to hide from parents. What parent would suspect risky behavior when they see an empty bottle of cough medicine in the trash? Unfortunately, only 50% of parents are aware of DXM abuse at all.

The  Stop Medicine Abuse campaign released this short but significant video highlighting one way parents can become more informed and help prevent abuse at home:

The Stop Medicine Abuse icon is included on OTC products, which contain DXM. Even without any knowledge of DXM, this icon alerts parents to stay vigilant about the potential for abuse.

With the hashtag #CheckYourShelf, the video encourages parents to monitor the amount of cough medicine in their home, safeguard their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of old/unused medicines. It also urges parents to check themselves by asking the following questions:

  • Am I aware of my teen’s habits and tendencies?
  • Do I have the kind of relationship where I can ask my teen important questions around risky behavior?
  • How can I start these conversations with my teen?

Informing parents about DMX abuse is the first step in preventing it. As the temperature drops and colds become more frequent, let’s continue to spread awareness about this critical issue, so parents know how the cough medicine in their home is being used.

You can get more information at www.StopMedicineAbuse.com or join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

Contributor: Anita Brikman joined the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) in 2016 and leads the association’s communications and public affairs functions. As a member of the senior management team, she is responsible for establishing and directing the organizations communications strategies and goals. Anita is passionate about healthcare issues, with over two decades of experience as a news anchor and health reporter in major television markets – making medicine abuse awareness and prevention efforts important to her. She is also the parent of three teenagers. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

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Skittling: It May Not Be What You Think

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 25, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Is Your Teen Skittling?

Help Your Teens Skittling2-1-300x235 Skittling: It May Not Be What You Think Skittling. If you’re like most parents, you probably don’t have the faintest idea of what this word could possibly signify. Maybe a poor attempt at verbalizing the act of eating Skittles?

Don’t let your sweet tooth kick in quite yet! Among many other terms, “skittling” has come to signify the abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM).

While these medicines are safe and effective when taken as directed, they can produce harmful side effects when taken excessively. Some teens intentionally take large amounts of DXM – sometimes more than 25 times the recommended dose. In fact, one out of three teens reports knowing someone who has abused medicine containing DXM to get high, while one out of 30 teens has abused it themselves. Unfortunately, this issue is more prevalent than most people realize. Next time you’re around your teen, be sure to keep an ear out for the following common slang terms that are used to describe DXM misuse and abuse:

  • Skittling, Robo-dosing, Dexing: Terms for abusing products with DXM
  • Syrup head, Robotard: Terms to describe someone who abuses DXM
  • Robo, Tussin, Velvet: Terms to reference cough syrups with DXM
  • Red devils, Red hots: Terms to reference capsules or tablets that contain DXM

You can find a full list of the many slang words used for DXM abuse here.

If you hear your teen using this slang, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about the risks of abusing DXM, including the potential side effects. You can also visit WhatIsDXM.com with your teen to watch and discuss stories from real teens who have abused DXM. You have the power to ensure your teen is educated, so that he or she can confidently make smart and safe decisions.

Learn more about how to prevent teen OTC cough medicine abuse at StopMedicineAbuse.org.

Help Your Teens Skittling Skittling: It May Not Be What You Think
Contributor: Blaise is a mother of one, caregiver of two, accountant and community advocate. Blaise is also a contributor to The Five Moms blog on StopMedicineAbuse.org, working to spread the word about cough medicine abuse with other parents. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

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Seven Signs Your Teen is Hiding Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 11, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Is Your Teen Hiding Their Substance Abuse?

Help Your Teens 7Drugs-206x300 Seven Signs Your Teen is Hiding Drug or Alcohol Abuse There are over 7,800 new users of illicit drugs, daily. Over half of those new users are minors. Marijuana, over-the-counter, prescription, ecstasy, and cocaine are among the most popular drugs teens use – but how are parents getting in front of their teen’s drug use before it starts?

TeenSafe, one of the most popular parental monitoring services, wants to empower parents with the tools to monitor and manage a child’s online activity in order to help know when they need to open a dialogue and start a conversation, before their activities lead to serious problems.

Below is a roundup of signs your teen may be hiding drug or alcohol abuse.

7 Signs your teens is hiding or abusing drugs or alcohol:

1.       Suddenly messy or unkempt appearance – A teen abusing substances may suddenly become messy or unkempt, have poor hygiene, or have unexplained marks or burns

2.       Separate social groups – Teens are more likely to do drugs in social situations. The introduction of drugs or alcohol also often comes with new friends, separate social groups, or the loss of old friends

3.       Sudden drop in grades – If your teen’s abuse has led to addiction, it can also impact their academic performance, including increased truancy, sudden drops in grades, or loss of interest in extracurricular activities

4.       Unexplained income – Dealing with drugs can lead to dealing drugs. Be on the lookout for unexplained income, cash flow problems, increased requests for money, or signs of theft

5.       Dramatic weight loss or gain – Signs that substance abuse is impacting your teen’s health include dramatic weight loss or gain, erratic sleep schedule, slurred or unintelligible speech, and clumsiness or lack of balance

6.       Altered emotional state – Drugs and alcohol don’t just affect a child’s physical health. It also alters their mental and psychological well-being, causing rapid mood swings, loss of inhibitions, loss of focus, and hyperactivity

7.       Abrupt personality change – Perhaps the most worrisome sign is that substances can create changes in the core personality of your teen. If your teen has developed secretive behavior, the tendency to lie, or depression, it may be time to seek help

Help Your Teens 7SignsAlcoholAbuse Seven Signs Your Teen is Hiding Drug or Alcohol Abuse

If you believe your teen is struggling with substance abuse, seek help through a local therapist.  If you have exhausted your local resources and it doesn’t seem to be helping, please contact us for options in residential therapy. There are programs that will accept PPO insurance and IEPs as a portion of their tuition.

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Synthetic Drugs: What Parents Need to Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 22, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Drug Use

One small dose. That’s all it was.  She was an honor roll student, not into drugs, never in troubled or into partying. Tara Fitzgerald, only 17 years old, however, was curious to try LSD and on one night made one bad decision she never woke up from.

“We all feel immune to drugs because our kids are better than that – they know better, they’re going to be smarter and it’s not going to happen to us. Well, it can happen to anybody,” – said Tara’s father in the following video.

What is synthetic drugs?

Synthetic drugs are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients.

A number of synthetic drugs on the market, including Ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine, are described in other booklets in The Truth About Drugs series. This booklet gives the facts about “synthetic marijuana” (Spice or K2), “synthetic stimulants” (Bath Salts) and a drug known as “N-bomb.” These are among the synthetic drugs known as “designer drugs.”

Source: Drug-Free World

Help Your Teens ParentsTalkingTeens-300x201 Synthetic Drugs: What Parents Need to Know What can parents do?

Communication is key.

If you watch the entire segment of Dateline, you will discover that although parents want to be able to trust their teenagers, it doesn’t mean you stop checking in on them — assuming they are a good kid, and nothing is going on.

Tara’s parents would give anything to go back to that night and check in on her – rather than assume she’s a good kid – all is just fine.

Even good kids make bad choices, don’t be that parent in denial. Don’t end up being a statistic. Worse – don’t end up being a headline.

If you’re struggling with your teen and have exhausted your local resources, sometimes residential therapy can be your next step. Contact us for quality resources.

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Risky Use of Stimulants and Teenagers

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 10, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Drug Use

Help Your Teens TeensADHDMeds-300x200 Risky Use of Stimulants and Teenagers Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students. ADHD stimulants strengthen the brain’s inhibitory capacities, by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters, like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Students like these drugs because they enhance their study efforts.

Prescription “study drugs” are commonly abused to increase concentration for last minute cramming or paper writing. The numbers vary significantly by school, with the greatest proportion of users at private and “elite” universities. Some researchers estimate about 30% of university students use stimulants non-medically.

Students believe that they take these stimulants for the “right reasons,” to be more productive in classes and to stay afloat in a flood of intense competition. In the competitive atmosphere at many schools, students seldom take the time to consider short or long-term risks of taking these drugs, nor understand how certain stimulants may interact with other drugs.

Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center said:

“Our biggest concern is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade. College students tend to underestimate the potential harms associated with the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants.”

While students’ knowledge of the health dangers are limited, even less consideration is given to the illegality of use. Obtaining stimulants from friends with prescriptions, as the vast majority of college students do, seems less dangerous and illegal than buying drugs off the street. Yet these drugs are illegal if used other than intended or by someone other than the person to whom they are prescribed. These drugs are Schedule II substances, on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list right next to cocaine and morphine.

Colleges and universities need to increase awareness about the abuse of these drugs and prompt broader discussion about misuse of medications like Ritalin or Adderall for study purposes. Prevention education for all students may help inform many that these drugs are highly addictive and can have serious side effects. A medical professional or counselor can provide help and support if a student you know is abusing these drugs, along with more information if needed.

About the author: Constance Scharff has a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies, specializing in addiction recovery. She is the Senior Addiction Research Fellow and Director of Addiction Research at Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, and co-author of Ending Addiction for Good with Richard Taite.

If your teen is struggling with drug use, please don’t hesitate to get help immediately. If you have exhausted your local resources please contact us for options on residential treatment.

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Teens and Drug Use

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 27, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Drug Use

In today’s society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging.

Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate

Teen substance abuse can escalate to addiction

Help Your Teens canstockphoto6202177-199x300 Teens and Drug Use P.U.R.E.™ receives many phone calls from parents who say that their child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs and, with the exception of a few states, it is an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child’s body, brain, and behavior.

Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, teens may become hooked. Many teens who are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac and other prescription drugs –  are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs.

It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects. Educating your child on potential harms may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding.

Alcohol is not any different with today’s teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however, they don’t realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to “fit in” with the rest of their peers– teen peer pressure.

This is when a child really needs to know that they don’t need to “fit in” if it means hurting themselves. Using drugs and alcohol is harmful, especially when combined with prescribed medication. The combination can bring out the worse in a person.

Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have. Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.

Help Your Teens canstockphoto23419307-300x196 Teens and Drug Use If your teen is experimenting with alcohol or drugs, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for residential placement.

If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent. This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention. Always be prepared; it can save you from rash decisions later.

For a teen who is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult, a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial. Keep in mind, however, that if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.

Drugs and alcohol usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen drug addiction and teen drinking are serious problems in today’s society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help. If the local resources become exhausted and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center.

Read more about the 15 warning signs that your teen is using drugs.

P.U.R.E.™ invites you to fill out a free consultation form for more information on finding the appropriate help for your teen.

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How Good Teens Can Get Hooked On Heroin

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 02, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Heroin Use

Help Your Teens HeronAbuse-300x220 How Good Teens Can Get Hooked On Heroin “Not my child.”

“He was only smoking weed.”

“It started with his wisdom teeth being removed and pain meds.”

“It was a sports injury and the pain meds helped.”

“It was only pot.”

“It’s not my teen.”

If you missed Heroin in the Heartland on 60 Minutes, take fifteen minutes to watch it.

These are not your typical stereotype junkies many parents imagine an addict to be, these could be your child. These are good kids making some very risky and deadly decisions.

I have been speaking to parents since 2001 and two of the biggest misconceptions that parents have is exactly what this segment shared:

  1. It’s not my teen/child.
  2. It’s only weed.
Help Your Teens HannahMorris-300x234 How Good Teens Can Get Hooked On Heroin

Hannah Morris/CBS News

Hannah Morris on 60 Minutes said the following, while she was 15 years-old:

“It started with weed and it was fun, and I got to good weed . Went to– oh my gosh, I went to pills, and it was still fun. You know, Percocet, Xanax, Vicodin, all that kinda stuff. And then yeah, heroin. I started smoking it at first.”

Both of Hannah’s parents are professionals and live in an upper middle-class area.  Hannah has been clean for a year and now attending college.

Don’t be a parent in denial.

Okay, marijuana is legal now, but get educated on it. It still has risk for youth and their brain cells – and more importantly when teens are buying it from dealers, it could be potentially laced with heroin. ABC 20/20 shared a segment on this a few years back – The New Faces of Heroin Users.

It’s basic economic’s, the dealers are going where the money is. – 60 Minutes

Parents need to learn more about heroin. They need to stop believing that it won’t or can’t happen to them. Heroin is deadly. Start talking about it – and don’t think of it as a stigma, but rather being proactive.  Start chatting about the 60 Minute segment. How do you feel about all the pain meds or the fact some parents flippantly say – it’s only marijuana?  This is not your parent’s weed.  This is your teenager’s life.

Help Your Teens 60MinuteParents How Good Teens Can Get Hooked On Heroin

Parents that learned firsthand that heroin is risky and deadly/CBS News

 

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Marijuana, Pills to Heroin: Teen Drug Use

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 04, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Drug Use

Help Your Teens heroinfoil-300x219 Marijuana, Pills to Heroin: Teen Drug Use No parent wants to believe their teenager will escalate from smoking a joint to pill popping to literally shooting or digesting heroin – but sadly this trend is growing.

Why?  Because heroin has become a cheap drug for youth to purchase and some drug dealers are conveniently lacing marijuana with heroin to quickly get your teen addicted.

Why is heroin so dangerous?

Heroin is considered to be the most highly addictive substance known to man. 

Heroin Facts from NIDA for Teens:

Heroin is a type of opioid drug that is partly man-made and partly natural. It is made from morphine, a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance that occurs naturally in the resin of the opium poppy plant. Heroin’s color and look depend on how it is made and what else it may be mixed with. It can be white or brown powder or a black, sticky substance called “black tar heroin.”

Heroin is becoming an increasing concern in areas where lots of people abuse prescription opioid painkillers, like OxyContin and Vicodin. They may turn to heroin since it produces a similar high but is cheaper and easier to obtain. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.

To learn more about the different types of opioids, visit  Opioids Drug Facts page.

Help Your Teens HeroinSlang Marijuana, Pills to Heroin: Teen Drug Use Slang terms teens use for heroin:

“Smack,” “Junk,” “H,” “Black tar,” “Ska,” and “Horse”

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier and safer teens.

Being a parent in denial doesn’t help anyone.

If you suspect your teen is using heroin, get help immediately.  Residential therapy is nothing to be ashamed of.  Contact us for more information.

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Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 18, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

Teen Inhalants: Huffing Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging

Help Your Teens Inhalants1 Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants What parents need to be educated today with is never ending.  If your not familiar with inhalant abuse, it’s time to learn more.

Commonly known as huffing, sniffing, dusting and bagging – inhalants are dangerous and deadly.  The scarier part is most are common household products.

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual’s head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

Help Your Teens inhalantTeen Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants

Warning signs if your teen or child is using inhalants:

– Drunk, dazed, or dizzy appearance
– Slurred or disoriented speech
– Uncoordinated physical symptoms
– Red or runny eyes and nose
– Spots and/or sores around the mouth
– Unusual breath odor or chemical odor on clothing
– Signs of paint or other products where they wouldn’t normally be, such as on face, lips, nose or fingers
– Nausea and/or loss of appetite
– Chronic Inhalant Abusers may exhibit symptoms such as hallucinations, anxiety, excitability, irritability, restlessness or anger.

It’s important to have open and ongoing conversations about dangers of inhalants.

Help Your Teens TeenParentChat-300x213 Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting and Bagging: Teen Inhalants Tips to start your chats:

• Ask your pre-teen or teenager if he or she knows about Inhalant Abuse or is aware of other kids abusing products.

• Reinforce peer resistance skills. Tell him or her that sniffing products to get high is not the way to fit in. Inhalants are harmful: the “high” comes with high cost.

• Encourage your child to come to you if he or she has any questions about Inhalants.

• Tell your child that the consequences of Inhalant Abuse are as dangerous as those from abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs. Be absolutely clear — emphasize that unsafe actions and risky behavior have serious consequences.

• Monitor your teen’s activities — set boundaries, ask questions. Be firm, know his or her friends and his or her friends’ parents, know where they meet to “hang out.”

•  Educate your child about the dangers, but don’t mention specific substances unless your child brings them up. While many youngsters know kids are sniffing some substances, they may not know the full range of products that can be abused; and you don’t want to give them suggestions.

• Tell your children that you love them and that their safety is your number one priority. Tell them again…and again…and again.

Source:  Inhalant.org

If you suspect your teen is using inhalant, please seek help immediately.  If they refuse to get help or you have exhausted local resources, you may want to consider residential therapy.  Contact us for more information.

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