Teen Drug Use Continues to Fall

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has released its annual numbers on US teenagers and substance abuse. In the past year, use of illicit drugs (except marijuana) has held steady at its lowest levels in over two decades. The biggest news of all is that opioid misuse by teens is at historic lows. However, NIDA has also found that teens really like to vape. Continue reading “Teen Drug Use Continues to Fall” »

Synthetic Drug Use Among Teens a Growing Problem Nationwide

Though we wish all news this time of year were merry and bright, unfortunately, there is nothing joyful about synthetic drug use — especially when it results in the death of teenagers.

It’s happened before in Kansas City, and now, other cities, states, and parents are experiencing the tragedy of teen fatality and overdose due to synthetic drugs.

Here’s what KC parents need to know about the spread of synthetic drugs.

Continue reading “Synthetic Drug Use Among Teens a Growing Problem Nationwide” »

DEA Cracks Down on Illegal Synthetic Drug Use

For the last couple of years, people who wanted to do drugs like marijuana without risking steep fines and penalties have turned to synthetic drugs as a less risky solution. Synthetic drugs such as K2, molly, and spice mimic the affects of drugs like marijuana without actually being made from the marijuana plant. As a result, they are often legal and widely available for purchase.

The legality of synthetic drugs doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous, however. Synthetic drugs have caused fatalities right here in the Kansas City area. That’s why lawmakers and law enforcement in Kansas City and across the country have tried to control their sale. A recent nationwide crackdown on synthetic drugs has brought the substances into the limelight once more.

Here’s what you need to know about synthetic drugs and the legal fight against them.

Continue reading “DEA Cracks Down on Illegal Synthetic Drug Use” »

Kansas City Parents, Join the Fight Against Synthetic Drugs

Previously we’ve reported on the dangers that synthetic drugs pose to teens and other users, including fatality. One of the most challenging aspects of the fight against synthetic drugs such as bath salts, acid, and K2 is the fact that manufacturers find ways around Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) restrictions to continue producing technically legal products. By using new compounds not yet deemed illegal by the DEA, the makers of synthetic drugs can continue selling their potentially fatal products to teens.

If you’re a parent who wants to stand up against synthetic drugs, Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City has some suggestions for how to do so.

Continue reading “Kansas City Parents, Join the Fight Against Synthetic 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” »

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.

A Case for Drug Testing

Anyone else catch CNN’s news feed last week on Twitter? A Florida elementary school principal was busted for drug use. And we’re not talking about having a little weed in his car. After he provided an undercover agent with drugs, authorities later busted him for meth and marijuana, among other drugs and paraphernalia.

Read CNN’s full report of the elementary school teacher busted for drugs


Drugs in the Schools

The report does say the educator was arrested at his home, and not the school. Whew, at least that’s one positive that comes out of this story. However it opens up a concerning window into the drug use of our country. No industry (even education) is free from drug use. And those who are overseeing our children and teens are not exempt. As a parent, my concern is the example set by this principal. A teen standing by might wonder, “If drugs were OK for him, maybe they’re OK for me.” It’s definitely worth a conversation with your teen to discuss the principal’s poor choices AND the consequences he is facing because of them.

Drug Testing for Teens & Adults

Upon hearing this story, it made me feel many things but one of the strongest is the need for drug testing. I don’t know if the other teachers in the building suspected this principal’s drug use, however a routine drug test at the beginning of each school year should have brought his addiction to light. It might have seemed more affordable to only test employees upon hire, however this story makes the case for routine drug testing, even for teachers.

An unlikely individual was caught with drugs. Few would have guessed an elementary school principal would be involved in meth and marijuana. However what happened here isn’t uncommon – especially among parents and teens. Many parents have no idea their teens are involved in marijuana, synthetic drugs and more. It may not take a sting operation to “bust” your teenager, however take a lesson from Florida authorities and teachers – and don’t always assume nothing is going on.

If you suspect your teen is using drugs, send him or her for a drug test.

If you’re in Kansas City, visit our walk-in Test Smartly Labs.

“Spice” Isn’t so Nice

Ever heard of “Spice?” Well, one 13-year-old’s parents hadn’t heard of it, and in fact, they didn’t even realize their teenager was using drugs. That is until he wound up in the hospital with a lung damaged so much, his family is waiting for a miracle lung transplant. And according to investors in Pittsburgh, he’s not the only Spice user to face grave medical concerns. Spice is blamed for at least a dozen deaths nationwide, not to mention many ER trips and fatal conditions.


These packets of herbs aren't so innocent...

What is Spice?

Spice, or also branded as K2, is sold and marketed as herbal incense. This “fake pot,” although outlawed now by US. Drug Enforcement Administration, has made its way into American homes, and unfortunately, teenage pockets. Teenagers have had an easier time getting their hands on Spice since before early 2011, it was legally marketed and sold in many shops. Even now, although several compounds are outlawed by the DEA, drug manufacturers continue to find new compounds to make synthetic drugs and keep them on store shelves … and online inventories.

Is Spice Detectable by a Drug Test?

A traditional 5-panel or 10-panel drug test that typically tests for cannabis (marijuana) will not detect spice. It’s effects may mimic marijuana, but it’s compounds are completely different. That’s why if a parent suspects a teen may be using synthetic drugs, we use a urine test, which will pick up any K2/Spice, or synthetic drug use.

How does Spice work?

Spice is a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of marijuana. Except it’s stronger, and more dangerous. While we could explain how it works, we thought this guy’s YouTube video does a better job than we could ever dream to do. Don’t feel like you have to watch the whole thing – the first 2 minutes do it justice. But, if your curious for more information or even doubtful that these synthetic drugs have entered your neighborhood, head over to YouTube and search through the many videos of teens and adults “tripping” on Spice. Just shows that it is a growing problem, and major concern, when kids post videos of themselves “tripping out” on Spice on the Internet. Unfortunately what they don’t realize is that while it may seem like a “miracle drug” right now – there’s a 13-year-old’s family waiting for a “miracle transplant” thanks to its effects.

Legal Yet Lethal | Synthetic Drugs

News articles like this report about “legal drugs” coming from Shorewood, Illinois are become more and more frequent. Stores all across the country are setting up shop and offering “legal” drugs under the guise of bath salts, incense, potpourri and other “harmless” products. Parents don’t think much about it – their teens are buying products from retail stores. However, store owners and drug-using teens alike both know that these supposedly legal, “harmless” products are actually giving a high that could be much more powerful – and dangerous – than outlawed marijuana.


Stores sell "legal" synthetic drugs. Photo courtesy of www.imoutragednow.com

What are Synthetic Drugs?

As mentioned in our previous post about synthetic drugs, these are products sold in many stores, often called “hedge shops.” Labeled on the shelves as bath salts and incense, store owners currently offer these drugs to teens looking to get their hands on “legal” substances that will give the same high as marijuana and other drugs. However, synthetic drugs are being reported as even more dangerous than the “traditional” marijuana. They contain compounds known as “JWH” and are extremely dangerous and harmful. The EPA even outlawed products with these dangerous compounds earlier this year, but producers continue to find ways to keep new variants of the compound (that haven’t been ruled as illegal yet) in products on the shelf. These drugs are known to be much stronger – and much more dangerous. The use of synthetic drugs has landed several teens in the ER, and some have even experienced comas, seizures, mental loss and more. And the trickiest thing about synthetic drugs – they may be difficult to detect.

Testing for Synthetic Drugs

Often parents or employers suspicious of drug users may require that teens take a standard drug test. However, the typical 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests will test for the more traditional drugs – marijuana, cocaine, methadone, opiates and more. These drug tests work great to detect traditional drug use – but will not pick up if the teen is using synthetic drugs to get high. Synthetic drug-using teens waltz into the lab and pass a drug test with flying colors while parents leave scratching their heads. That’s why it’s imperative that parents understand that teens may be getting high off of “new” substances these days, and alternative tests may need to be run in addition to the standard drug test.

To test a teen for synthetic drugs, we use a urine test and a saliva test to see if certain synthetic drugs are in the system. We’re often looking for synthetic cannabinoids to determine if a teen is using synthetic drugs, and our unique tests will detect if these synthetic compounds are in the bodily fluids.

For parents suspecting teen drug use, we encourage you to be proactive and get your teen tested for traditional AND synthetic drug use. If you see any questionable materials in their bedrooms strange salts, potpourri, or small, metallic packages with what seems to be “harmless” products, be suspicious. Your teen may be using something that’s not only harmful, but also has the power to be quite lethal.

Understanding Teenage Drug Slang

Just like any language and culture, there is unique terminology when it comes to drug users. The terms for using drugs and different drug forms are unending. Although one individual will never know all of the drug terms for each drug and drug user, it’s important for parents to know where to go to understand the “drug slang” so that you can know what your teen is referring to if they are talking about strange topics or acting questionably.


"Bath Salts" at head shops are a drug teenagers use

Finding Drug Slang Dictionaries

You may remember some slang drug terms from back in your day like potlicker, mary jane, Aunt Mary, amp, cheeba and more. These days, there are at least 500 ways to refer to each drug, and even more to explain how the drug is used.

For parents hoping to get a better understanding for common drug terminology, we recommend using several online resources. Just google “Drug Slang” and hundreds of websites will populate with drug slang dictionaries and more. From our research, here are some very helpful tools:

Have no idea what your teen just said? Use the Drug Slang translator.

A great PDF that lists several slang words used for each narcotic.

Drug Slang & Street Terms Dictionary

2010 Most Common Drug Slang Terms

There are thousands of words when it comes to drug slang words. We recommend using a drug slang dictionary to inform yourself about more common terms for drugs. But it’s also good to know some of the most popular drugs that teens may be experimenting with and talking about.

Synthetic Drugs

A recent trend in teenage drug usage is synthetic drug use, which comes in the form of “fake pot, or K2” and bath salts. Synthetic drugs are easy to find, and sold at many head shops under the guise of “herbal incense” or “bath salts.” Synthetic drug use is dangerous and must be stopped if you suspect your child is using synthetic drugs.

Most Popular Drug Terms

In 2010, TestCountry.com determined the most popular drugs that were circulating around drug users last year. They include:

Cheese | Strawberry Quick | Blueberries | Molly | Eggs | French Fries | Cornbread | Butter Sandwich | Skittles | Tic Tacs

See what all of these popular drug slang terms mean.

If you’re like most parents, hearing your teen discuss common foods may not be a signal for drug use, but knowing these terms refer to popular teen drugs and prescription drugs will help you be more informed and aware of your teen’s experimentation.

Need Help Knowing a Drug Slang Term?

Knowing some popular slang terms for the drugs popular among teenagers will help you parent better and protect your kids.Please contact us if you hear a term and cannot find a definition, we can help you discover what your teenager may be referring to if they are using slang drug terms.