Safe Spring Break Alternatives For Teens

Spring break is generally just a time for teens to hang out at home for a week and treasure their time not sitting in class. Whether they decide to go on a road trip, play video games, or just watch movies, your teen could be tempted to party at a friend’s house where alcohol and other drugs are present. Continue reading “Safe Spring Break Alternatives For Teens” »

Parents, Do You Know How to Dispose of Prescription Drugs?

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise nationwide, and many communities, public health officials, and parents are expressing concern over the increase.

As a parent, it’s your job to monitor your child to make sure that they’re not turning to prescription drug abuse to get high. One of the best ways you can do this is by properly disposing of your prescription drugs.

Here’s the how-to on getting rid of your outdated or unwanted medications in a safe way.

Continue reading “Parents, Do You Know How to Dispose of Prescription Drugs?” »

Kansas City Teen Charged in Death Caused by Synthetic Drugs

Worried about your teen using synthetic drugs? It turns out that Kansas City teenagers aren’t just trying synthetic substances — they’ve also been caught supplying them to other teens. And in the case of synthetic drugs, the consequences can be fatal.

On January 15, 2014, Krista Meeks was charged with involuntary manslaughter in addition to a previous charge of distribution of synthetic drugs. The Platte County resident is only 17 years old.

Continue reading “Kansas City Teen Charged in Death Caused by Synthetic Drugs” »

First National Meth Awareness Week in Progress

 What: The first national Meth Awareness Week

When: November 30 through December 7

Why: To combat the use and abuse of methamphetamine

Who: The observance is put together by the Meth Project, a prevention program of The Partnership at Drugfree.org

We are in the midst of the first observance of National Meth Awareness Week. The week is dedicated to combating the use and abuse of methamphetamine in young adults and adults.

People in all sectors of our society are affected by meth use.

The drug is not limited to one age group, socioeconomic status or gender.

The U.S. Department of Justice states that meth is a challenge for our nation, noting that education is a vital part of prevention. People that understand just how destructive the drug is are less likely to use it.

Meth-Awareness-Week

Education and Prevention

You might be wondering how education can prevent meth use, especially in teens. Research backs up the use of education to prevent meth use. Real projects provide even more support.

The research-based program implemented in Montana proved effective. Teen meth use has dropped 63 percent. Meth-related crime is 62 percent less common than before the education program began. Those statistics are encouraging.

The program is being implemented in other states now. We’re eager to keep following the efforts to educate and prevent meth use. Every step toward prevention is worthwhile.

Teen Drug Use: It’s Not Just an Inner City Thing

You might think that your children and teens are less likely to experiment with drugs if you live in one of Kansas City’s many lovely suburban areas like Overland Park, Liberty, Blue Springs, or Lee’s Summit. But just because your address is in a suburb doesn’t mean that your child isn’t engaged in what you might think are “inner city” activities.

Although many drugs first rose to prominence in more densely populated urban areas, studies have shown that illegal drug abuse among teens is spreading out from the inner city and reaching into the suburbs. In research conducted by Suniya S. Luthar of Columbia and Dr. Karen D’Avanzo of Yale, suburban teenagers reported much higher levels of substance abuse than inner city teenagers. Instances of prescription drug abuse and heroin use by teenages have soared in the past few years.

Although high costs and dangers associated with drug use once kept suburban youths away from illegal drugs, we can’t deny the clear shift:  teen drug use is no longer just an “inner city thing.”

Increased Teen Heroin Abuse in the Suburbs

Heroin use in the United States has skyrocketed since 2002. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports, there has been an 80% increase in first-time use of heroin by 12 to 17 year olds. And the Drug Enforcement Administration has seized more heroin in 2012 than before: the amount doubled to 2,059 lbs in 2012 from 1,334 lbs in 2008. Teenage drug users are a huge part of the overall heroin increase.Teen Drug Use in the Suburbs Not Inner City | Test Smartly Labs

In particular, cities surrounding Chicago, like Naperville, IL, have seen a remarkable increase in the amount of teenage heroin users in the past few years, demonstrating the shift of teenage drug use from the inner city to the suburbs. In Naperville, 2 of 6 people who died of heroin overdoses in 2011 were teenagers, and more suburban teen drug users have lost their lives to heroin since then. Also in 2011, felony drug arrests among Naperville teenagers saw a 78% increase and a 450% increase in heroin arrests specifically.

Clearly heroin use has shifted from the inner city to the suburbs, but why? Experts say that  it is due in part to the crackdown on prescription drug abuse. As law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies have made it more difficult for suburban teens to access opiates in pill form, they‘ve turned to the less expensive, easier-to-access form: heroin.

Fight Teen Drug Abuse in the Suburbs with ARCpoint

It’s important to be aware of the shifts in teenage drug use from the inner city to the suburbs. Even if your town has a squeaky clean image, there is most likely a teenage drug user in your midst, whether it’s your own child, their friend, or a kid in your neighborhood.

If you have a teenager and you are concerned about their potential drug use, you should talk to them about the dangers of drug abuse. Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City can provide more information about teenage drug use. We also offer confidential testing at our Kansas City  facilities so that you can help keep your teenager clean.

Encouraging Your Kids to Handle Peer Pressure

In our society, the masses tend to make the moves, and most of us follow. Peer pressure is a tiny example of the way our society generally works.

Peer pressure is a daily reality for most children and teens. Your children are preparing for the new school year where they will face daily pressure from their classmates and friends. The type of pressure they experience during the school year is unlike that during the summer.

Continue reading “Encouraging Your Kids to Handle Peer Pressure” »

Study Finds Link Between Drugs & Concussions

It’s been known as a “silent epidemic,” affecting thousands of children and teens every year: concussions. More than 173,000 kids and teenagers are already seen every year due to brain injuries, including concussions, and that number could be even higher. Now, a new study has emerged, claiming that teens who smoke pot and drink alcohol, even on occasion, are at higher risk of getting a concussion than their peers who don’t. concussion risk higher for ten drug users

What is a concussion?

A concussion is caused by a sudden blow to the head that shakes the brain against the skull. It can be due to a collision while playing sports, a fall, a car crash or fighting.

Concussion Symptoms

Obvious signs of a concussion include passing out or forgetting what happened before the injury occurred. It’s common for people to experience other symptoms too, including having trouble thinking and remembering information, emotional changes, having headaches or dizziness and a change in sleep patterns. However, concussions often go unnoticed, as the symptoms aren’t always visible or immediately noticeable— especially if the teen doesn’t pass out. Effects can last for hours, days or even months.

The Study

Canadian researched have found a link between kids and teens who drink and/or smoke pot with a higher risk of getting a concussion. They surveyed nearly 9,000 Ontario students between 7th and 12th grade from the general population and found that students who occasionally or frequently drank or smoked were at 5 times the risk than those who didn’t. While the study doesn’t have an answer as to why this is true, the evidence backs it up.

Other Links

Using drugs and drinking alcohol may not be the only factor contributing to concussions. Studies show that males and students who have lower grades in school are more prone to getting a concussion, and those who play contact sports are always at higher risk.

Talk to your teen about the risks of using drugs and alcohol. If you think he or she may be using these substances, Test Smartly Labs can help.

 

New Dangerous Fad in Drinking

The term “drunkorexia” has been floating around for years now. It refers to teens and college students who restrict food intake before a night of binge drinking. “Saving” calories for alcohol can be extremely dangerous, and now there is a new way drinkers are finding a way to help keep weight off while still feeling the full effects (and more) of alcohol. Smoking alcohol is a disturbing new and very dangerous trend being promoted as a good alternative to those who are dieting.

teen alcohol useSmoking/Inhaling Alcohol

The combination of dry ice and liquor create alcoholic vapors. By pouring the alcohol over dry ice, users are able to inhale the fumes that are produced. Users say it gives them the full effect of chugging a beverage without any calories or sugars. Another product called the Vaportini is being marketed in which users heat alcohol in a glass ball and inhale the vapors through a straw. Both methods are very dangerous because users don’t know how much alcohol they are really consuming since the liquor stays in the container.

Effects

By smoking alcohol, the vapors go directly to your lungs rather than passing through the stomach and liver. The liver metabolizes liquor and makes it less potent. By circumventing these organs and entering the bloodstream directly from the lungs, the consequences could be deadly. Vomiting is a common bodily reaction to rid the body of toxins when you’ve had too much to drink and is a sign of alcohol poisoning. However, when alcohol enters the body directly into the bloodstream, users feel the effects much more quickly and intensely. The body is then unable to expel excess alcohol, leaving everyone unaware of alcohol poisoning.

This growing trend is just one of many new ways people are abusing alcohol. Take a look at our previous blog post to educate yourself on more creative ways teens and others are getting high and drunk. Be aware of the negative effects alcohol and drugs can have on your body, and let Test Smartly Labs help point you in the right direction if you’re struggling with addiction.

 

Creative Ways Teens are Abusing Substances

over the counter drugsTeenage drug and alcohol abuse is nothing new, but now teens are finding new ways to get high and drunk. With increasing restrictions and penalties, they are getting more and more creative. Most of these are potentially fatal, and all of them do bodily harm.

Some of these methods may shock you, but it is important to be aware that abuse happens in many different ways aside from drinking, shooting up and smoking.

Alcohol

Eyeballing

  • Teenagers have found a way to get drunk fast and disguise the smell of alcohol. Eyeballing is when a person pours alcohol directly into the eye, quickly absorbing into the bloodstream through veins in the back of the eye.

Drinking hand sanitizer

  • Hand sanitizers contain 62% ethyl alcohol, which can cause a quick buzz but be potentially lethal. Foam hand sanitizer makes it more difficult to extract the alcohol, so opt for that over the gel form. Some kids are also drinking mouthwash and vanilla extract for the same effect.

Vodka-soaked Feminine Products

  • Reports have been floating around for a few years now about teen girls (and boys) soaking feminine products in alcohol before inserting them into their bodies. The alcohol immediately absorbs directly into the bloodstream. It is exceptionally dangerous because users will not show common signs of alcohol poisoning, like vomiting.

Drugs

Cough medicine

  • Known as “purple drank” and “sizzurp,” this concoction is a mixture of cold medicine, a soft drink and Jolly Ranchers candies. It is often glorified by rappers like Lil Wayne and athletes. Robitussin and Delsym are popular choices and may also be known as “Tussin” and “Orange Crush.”

  • Kids are also using pills containing dextromethorphan (DXM), which gives a similar high to codeine. Contained in Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, the drug can cause hallucinations and out-of-body experiences.

Other

Inhalation

  • Inhalation includes huffing, dusting, sniffing and bagging, where a person inhales chemicals to get high. By soaking bags or rags in chemicals, the participant then breathes from the cloth or bag. Cleaning supplies, spray paint, glue, gasoline, nail polish remover and more can all be used as inhalation products. Effects are similar to those of alcohol, including slurred speech, dizziness, confusion and nausea.

Choking Game

  • Also known as the Fainting Game, the Pass Out Game, Space Monkey and Black Out (among others), children as young as 8 or 9 are using asphyxiation to briefly feel high. The participant has a friend (or can easily use a rope or scarf) strangle him or her until oxygen is cut off. Once the grip is released, the rush of oxygen to the brain results in a high. Look for marks or bruises around the neck, bloodshot eyes and the presence of items like leashes, ropes, belts, scarves, bungee cords etc.

If you have concerns about your teenager trying drugs and alcohol, contact Test Smartly Labs in Kansas City. We can run drug tests and help your child begin to make the right decisions.

Why a Busy Summer Might be the Best Thing for your Teen

teens leaving school for summer School sessions across the country are wrapping up the semester and parents are breathing a sigh of relief before they gear up for summer.

The school year keeps families busy. Your teens might be burned out after a long semester capped by a series of final exams. They probably want to relax (and you do, too). Summer is designed to give your kids a break, but planning a busy summer might be better for your teens.

Why Make Plans for the Summer?

You might be wondering how a crazy-busy summer could help your teens. Helping your teens make plans for their break will help both you and them for these reasons:

1. Help them stay in a routine. The school year has a predictable routine. Teens know what time to wake up, when they should go to bed and what activities they have on certain days. When school ends, everything is up in the air. There are no practices or club meetings to help differentiate the days. Keeping a predictable routine will help them build discipline and be prepared for the next school year.

2. More teens experiment with drugs over the summer. Research released last summer revealed that more teens try drugs and alcohol for the first time during June and July than the rest of the year. Researchers show that about 11,000 teens first try alcohol, 5,000 try smoking a cigarette and 4,500 try marijuana over the summer. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the report. Busy teens will have less chance of trying drugs or alcohol.

3. Teach them life skills. When teens are on a summer break, you have the chance to focus on important values and life skills. Your teens might be heading off to college soon. Take advantage of the summer months to encourage them to continue pursuing their interests, keep their minds sharp and stay physically active. They can learn practical things that are harder to learn during the school year.

How to Make a Summer Plan of Action

Talk to your teens about how they will fill their summer days. While one teen might have dreams of making money, another might want to spend every minute outside. Help your teens make a plan for staying busy and enjoying their time off.

Get a Job

If your teens are old enough, help them look for a summer job. Lots of local places need part time summer help. Encourage your teens to find something they are interested in. If your teens are too young to work or don’t have reliable transportation for a job, encourage them to find other ways to make money. Some teens might do lawn work, help neighbors with housework or babysit.

Take a Class

Summer school is not a pleasant phrase for most teenagers. You can find some great educational classes or workshops in your area, though. Local schools and community centers host courses in all sorts of categories including science, art, drama, or athletics. Look around for options and let your teen pick one or two.

Go to Camp

Summer camp hasn’t lost its appeal yet. There are day camps and overnight camps for every teenager. Check out the options for sport, art, theater, and science camps.

Help Out

Start talking to your teens about volunteer options. There are opportunities for any interest. Helping your teens plan a summer-long community service project or routine will really encourage them to make volunteering a part of their lives. Check out the opportunities at animal shelters, hospitals, libraries, parks and churches.

Worried Your Teen is Trying Drugs?

If you’re worried that your teenager is trying out drugs, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Kansas City area locations. We can help you think of ways to keep your teens busy and run drug tests.