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Teen Drug Use

How to Spot Early Warning Signs of Teen Drug Use

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 26, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Drug Use

Prevent Teen and Young Adult Drug Use

How to Spot Early Warning Signs of Teen & Young Adult Drug Use

Figuring out if your child is using substances can be challenging. Many of the signs and symptoms are typical teen or young adult behavior. Many are also symptoms of mental health issues, including depression or anxiety.

If you have reason to suspect use, don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution. Prepare to take action and have a conversation during which you can ask direct questions like “Have you been drinking, vaping or using drugs?” No parent wants to hear “yes,” but being prepared for how you would respond can be the starting point for a more positive outcome.

What to look for with shifts in mood & personality:

  • Sullen, withdrawn or depressed
  • Less motivated
  • Silent, uncommunicative
  • Hostile, angry, uncooperative
  • Deceitful or secretive
  • Unable to focus
  • A sudden loss of inhibitions
  • Hyperactive or unusually elated

Behavioral changes:

  • Changed relationships with family members or friends
  • Absenteeism or a loss of interest in school, work or other activities
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Locks doors
  • Disappears for long periods of time
  • Goes out often, frequently breaking curfew
  • Secretive with the use of their phone
  • Makes endless excuses
  • Uses chewing gum or mints to cover up breath
  • Often uses over-the-counter preparations to reduce eye reddening or nasal irritation
  • Has cash flow problems
  • Has become unusually clumsy: stumbling, lacking coordination, poor balance
  • Has periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of “catch up” sleep

Hygiene and appearance:

  • Smell of smoke or other unusual smells on breath or on clothes
  • Messier than usual appearance
  • Poor hygiene
  • Frequently red or flushed cheeks or face
  • Burns or soot on fingers or lips
  • Track marks on arms or legs (or long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks)

Physical health:

  • Frequent sickness
  • Unusually tired and/or lethargic
  • Unable to speak intelligibly, slurred speech or rapid-fire speech
  • Nosebleeds and/or runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
  • Sores, spots around mouth
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions/bruises
  • Frequent perspiration
  • Seizures and/or vomiting

Being a parent – How and where to look:

Use your nose.

Have a real, face-to-face conversation when child comes home after hanging out with friends. If there has been drinking or smoking, the smell will be on their breath, on clothing and in their hair.

Look them in the eyes.

Pay attention to their eyes, which will be red and heavy-lidded, with constricted pupils if they’ve used marijuana. Pupils will be dilated, and they may have difficulty focusing if they’ve been drinking. In addition, red, flushed color of the face and cheeks can also be a sign of drinking.

Watch their behavior.

How do they act after a night out with friends? Are they particularly loud and obnoxious, or laughing hysterically at nothing? Unusually clumsy to the point of stumbling into furniture and walls, tripping over their own feet and knocking things over? Sullen, withdrawn, and unusually tired and slack-eyed for the hour of night? Do they look queasy and stumble into the bathroom? These are all signs that they could have been drinking or using marijuana or other substances.

Search their spaces.

The limits you set with your child don’t stop at the front door or their bedroom door. If you have cause for concern, it’s important to find out what’s going on. Be prepared to explain your reasons for a search though, whether or not you tell them about it beforehand. You can let them know it’s out of concern for their health and safety. Common places to conceal vapes, alcohol, drugs or paraphernalia include:

  • Inside drawers, beneath or between other items
  • In small boxes or cases — think jewelry, makeup or pencil cases, or cases for earbuds
  • Under a bed or other pieces of furniture
  • In a plant, buried in the dirt
  • In between or inside books
  • Under a loose floor board
  • Inside over-the-counter medicine containers (Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
  • Inside empty candy bags such as M&Ms or Skittles
  • In fake soda cans or other fake containers designed to conceal

Don’t overlook your teen’s cell phone or other digital devices. Do you recognize their frequent contacts? Do recent messages or social media posts hint at drug use or contradict what they’ve told you?

If your search turns up evidence of drug use, prepare for the conversation ahead and do not be deterred by the argument of invaded privacy. Stand by your decision to search and the limits you’ve set.

If you discover that your child is not likely to have been drinking or using other substances, this could be a good time to find out if there’s another explanation for any changes in their appearance or behavior that needs to be addressed.

Source: Drugfree.org

If you have a good teen starting to make bad choices and you’ve exhausted your local resources, it may be time to consider residential therapy before it gets out of control. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 10, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Teen Help

Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy 

By David Sheff

A myth-shattering look at drug abuse and addiction treatment, based on cutting-edge research

Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. 

These facts are the foundation of Clean. The existing addiction treatments, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, have helped some, but they have failed to help many more.

To discover why, David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In Clean, he reveals how addiction really works, and how we can combat it.

Order Clean today.

15 Warning signs your teen might be using drugs.

Also read David Sheff’s NYT’s best seller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

When parents question their parenting?

What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery.

Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets.

David Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the three a.m. phone calls—is it Nic? the police? the hospital? His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up on Nic.

Order Beautiful Boy today.

*****************

Both books are a must read for any parent with a child that you suspect is making bad choices. No matter how smart or talented they are, or if you believe it’s just a phase — don’t be a parent in denial. Be proactive. You could be saving their life.

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How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 24, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

This is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis.

By Shawnda P. Burns, LMHC, CAP

Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.  However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

*Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family.  This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

*Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open.  Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

*There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

*A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

*Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness.  Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

*Lying, usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

*Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

*Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

These are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.  Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.

Evaluate the situation.  Talk to your teenager.  Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.  By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.

Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.

If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.  The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded.  Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family.

Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together.  An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

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If you have exhausted your local resources, such as therapists, out-patient and possible short-term in-patient, and still find that your teenager is struggling with behavior issues, it might be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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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?

Skittling2Skittling. 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.

Skittling
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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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

ParentsTalkingTeensWhat 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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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

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.

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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Teens Ordering Drugs Online: Don’t Be A Parent In Denial

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 24, 2016  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Teen Help

Teens Ordering Drugs Online

onlinepharmacyThe Internet is today’s new playground for today’s youth. From Club Penguin to Instagram to Snapchat to our teen’s looking for more ways to have excitement offline.

Prescription drug use isn’t just in your medicine cabinet or street drugs…. teens are ordering drugs online.

Researchers from Columbia University spent five years searching the Internet for websites that advertise and sell prescription drugs. They found 365. Eighty-five percent of them did not require a doctor’s prescription or proof of age, even though people were buying powerful narcotics. (CRC Health)

Psychology Today reported that kids as young as sixth graders were ordering drugs online.

What can parents do to help prevent this behavior?

  • Talk to your kids. Explain what’s wrong with buying medications illegally, in terms they can understand. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you strictly forbid them to buy drugs on the Internet. Be specific about the consequences (your choice here), and make it clear that disciplinary actions will be enforced on the very first violation.
  •  If you suspect or find out that option 1 isn’t working, move the computer out of the kids’ bedrooms and into common spaces (living room, kitchen, etc.). Tell them that the computer will remain in a common area for a set period of time, so that you can monitor their Web use.
  • If options 1 and 2 aren’t working, check the computer’s browser history. Yes, this is spying. But if you believe your child is really involved in an illegal activity, you have an obligation to investigate.  (Keep in mind, safety trumps privacy. This is about your child’s welfare). This shouldn’t be used because you are simply snooping for no reason – you are rising losing your child’s trust.
(Source – Psychology Today)

If you find that you have exhausted your local resources, including therapy, or your teen is simply out-of-control, you may want to consider residential therapy. Contact us for a free consultation to determine if this is an option for your family.

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Everyday More Than 4000 Teens Try Drugs for the First Time

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 06, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

First Time Teen Drug Users

parents you matterThis is a sobering fact that parents need to stop being in denial about.

We have good kids making bad decisions.

Parents Matter:

  • 1 in 4 kids who have tried alcohol had their first drink at age 12 or younger
  • Every day, more than 4,000 teenagers try an illicit drug for the first time
  • Kids who learn about the risks of substance abuse at home are significantly less likely to use. Parents and other caring adults do matter and can make a difference.

These statistics are why it’s imperative you build a relationship of trust and open your lines of communication with your child and especially a teenager. We know it’s not easy, however it’s necessary.

In today’s fast-paced society, parents may have to schedule time with their teens – don’t skip those family meals, make it a priority. If not every night, at least several times a week. Studies have proven that having meals together can reduce risky behavior in adolescences.

If you suspect your teen is using drugs and your conversations have gone on deaf ears, turn to local counseling. If you are still struggling, please contact us for information on residential therapy.

Source: Parents360

 

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Preventing Underage Drinking During the Holidays

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 03, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Underage Teen Drinking

Teens are not any different than adults and parents, they want to celebrate the holidays and be festive!

What is different is alcohol shouldn’t be included in their recipe of fun.

Let’s face it, we were all kids once, and during this time especially, relatives would have us try drinks during home parties – but what parents are facing today can be more serious than generations earlier.

Here some tips for discussing the holiday alcohol chat with your teens:

Do your research: Learn the facts of the affects of alcohol and how it can affect their health and mind. That way, you can successfully communicate the right information to your kids. Have the talk early with your kids before the parties and peer pressure start, and talk about it often. We know so much more today than we did generations earlier.

Reduce peer pressure: Teach your teens that they should celebrate the holidays with friends they can trust and that have share similar interests and values with. By doing this, kids can minimize the effects of peer pressure and they won’t feel uncomfortable at parties.

Have the right timing: There are many great ways to give an excuse to have the talk; talk to your teens when they enter high school, when they’re going to their first party, or when a teen alcohol-related event appears on the news.

Listen and pay attention: It’s important to listen and not lecture. Ask their opinions and suggestions. Pay attention to what kids are doing during the holidays, who they are hanging out with, and if their behavior changes, find out why.  Keep in mind – it’s best to have your conversation before a confrontation arises.

Have a safe word: Doing this will give your kids the chance to call or text you if they are uncomfortable with what’s going on at a party and they won’t feel embarrassed.

Have others involved in the conversation: Have older siblings involved in the conversation, a family friend, a teacher or coach involved since these are all trusted people.

This information is courtesy of The Alcohol Talk.  Also for more information on underage drinking, please visit the non-profit organization Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility at: www.responsibility.org.

Is your teen out-of-control and you have exhausted all your local resources including therapy and out patience services? Are you considering residential treatment? Learn more about it and if it is right for your individual teen and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Warning Signs Your Teen Could Be Using Drugs

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 23, 2015  /   Posted in Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Warning Signs Your Teen Could Be Using Drugs

TeendrugabuseThis is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis. Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.

However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

• Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family. This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

• Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open. Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

• There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

• A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

• Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness. Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

• Lying , usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

• Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

• Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

Parent_Teen_TroublesThese are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.

• Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.
• Evaluate the situation.
• Talk to your teenager.
• Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.
• By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.
• Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.
• If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.

The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded. Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family. Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together. An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

Contributor: Shawnda Burns, LCSW

If your teen has been struggling with substance abuse, be sure to seek help. If they refuse to get help, it may be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information on this step.

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