Parents: Talk to Your Teens About Opiates

From a very young age, it is drilled into our heads that heroin is bad. However, we are also taught to trust professional adults like doctors and to listen to what they say. If a teen gets an injury and is prescribed an opiate painkiller or they just hear that taking them can get them high, they are more likely to believe it is safe. If your child found heroin in your medicine cabinet, they would be terrified, but because the feeling towards opiates is not as worrisome is causing a deadly crisis. Continue reading “Parents: Talk to Your Teens About Opiates” »

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.



  • 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.


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.



  • 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.

Skittle Parties

Ever heard of a skittles party? And no, we’re not talking about a time where everyone gets together to “tasting the rainbow” and get an extreme sugar high off of colorful little candies. We’re talking about one of the trends that teens (and even some pre-teens) are experimenting with. It involves stealing. It involves sharing. And it’s one of the most dangerous ways kids are abusing prescription medications.


A trend in prescription drug use by teens is "skittles parties"

What is a Skittles Party?

Simply put, a skittles party (also referred to as  Pharm Party) is where kids will raid their parents’ medicine cabinets, steal prescription meds, and then attend a party where they throw their loot into a big bowl along with everyone else’s parents’ medicines. A little stirring action mixes all of the pills together, and each kid grabs a handful of pills and heads to the backroom to take the pills and get a high. No, we’re not joking.

Dangers of Skittle Parties

I don’t think we really have to go into why a skittles party is dangerous in itself. Think about taking a cocktail of mixed pills like pain killers, blood pressure medicine and antibiotics. And that’s just one scenario. Recklessly ignoring the labels and grabbing whatever prescription medicines they can find, kids are out to get a high the easiest way they know how. What they don’t realize is that mixing prescription drugs will not only give them the “high” of their life, but it might just in fact kill them.

Talk to your Pre-Teens and Teens about Prescription Drug Abuse

We live in a culture where adults aren’t the only ones taking prescription medications. Ask any school nurse; she’d be able to make a long list of elementary students taking some type of prescription medication throughout the school day. We’re not going to join the debate on whether it’s right or not, but we’ll just comment that prescription drugs are growing in all markets – even for children.

Because so many kids are prescribed prescription drugs, it’s important to begin talking to your kids early about drugs and drug abuse. Find age-appropriate ways to reinforce the understanding of the purpose of taking any drug (over-the-counter or prescription).

Practical-Parent had some ideas for talking to your young kids about drugs and restricting exposure to drugs:

  • Emphasize household rules and values.
  • Talk about what to do in a situation you don’t like.
  • Continue to restrict what television they watch and talk about what they see.
  • Teach them to make good choices about how they treat their bodies.

More Resources for Skittle Parties

If you’re a parent and concerned that your child or teenager may be overusing prescription drugs, consider a blood test to determine what drugs may be in their system. The safest way to avoid your child’s temptation to participate in harmful prescription drug use is to lock your medicine and keep it out of reach from your children.

Read more about Practical Parenting’s article about skittle parties

Read about’s article about the resurrection of the “Pharm Parties”