Designer Drugs: How to Spot Unusual Paraphernalia

By Mila Anhielo, Writer Radical Parenting
Haven’t you heard? Designer drugs have recently taken a deep and steady hold on teenage eyes around the world. As raves have begun to close their doors for youth below 18 years, the drugs surrounding this massive scene are still circulating in high schools all over America. The Designer drug craze is closer to home than most parents may come to realize. In my opinion, raves are not necessarily the only source for underage party seekers – the agony and ecstasy might lie in the privacy of a childhood bedroom. Drugs included under the category of “designer” go as follows: Opioids, Tryptamines, Sedatives, and Hallucinogens. The most popular and available drug in this category is Ecstasy. Because of this rise in underage Ecstasy users, legislature began introducing anti-rave acts in 2011. While I do not agree with teens dancing until 4 Am and coming home minutes before first period, I don’t think the rave culture should take complete blame. In fact, most raves taking place in 2012 will be reserved for older crowds, by law. I believe most problems in adolescence are rooted from the environment around the home. Though you may be unaware, these drugs can lead to mental and physical addiction faster than you can say “party!”
I have compiled a list of different paraphernalia associated with these drugs, so that parents can get better perspectives on the Designer drug culture. Young people ages 14-17 are using these drugs recreationally without much information on what they actually consist of. As the parent, you can gently consult your teen on how to be safe or get them the help they may need, even if they don’t ask. I have also included information on how to spot a “comedown” from a night of euphoria, which is a result of dopamine-loss and can be dangerous to young psyche.
L.E.D Lights – If your child is not usually interested in toys like this for recreation, this might be a sign he or she has recently started experimenting with Ecstasy. L.E.D lights can be used to showcase “light shows” to themselves and their friends. When on Ecstasy, the lights may have halos or lines that arouse the vision. They can be found on gloves or strings.
Glow Sticks – For the same reason, to give lightshows. These can be bought at any party store or supermarket, so they are readily available for ecstasy users.
Chew Toys  or Pacifiers – This might seem a little strange, and it might just be. However, pacifiers and chew toys are not just for babies anymore! Rave culture has outlawed them at massive events because of their association with teeth grinding when on Ecstasy.
Foil – This is serious. If foil with a substance is found in a trash can or in the home, it can mean your teen is using serious drugs. You may want to do some research about what you find on the foil, especially if it has been smoked. Foil is also used to preserve LSD tablets; these can be stored in cold places (freezer) or room temperature (wallet).
Empty Cans or Bottles – Cans and bottles can be used to make bongs or pipes for smoking Marijuana. If you see makeshift-looking bongs or pipes made from empty cans, bottles, foil, or even discarded fruit – it might mean your child is experimenting with Pot. You will usually see a hole on one end (to inhale) and another hole near the “bowl” that is usually covered to allow smoke to settle inside the pipe. This drug is not in the category of Designer, and it is lifetimes tamer. However, it is still currently illegal for minors to smoke Marijuana, even with parental consent
Cold Medicine – Cold medicines in pill form have been a popular teen drug for generations. In fact, it is now illegal to buy under the age of 18 because of the epidemic. Cold medicine can be ingested to feel dis-associative effects similar to Ketamine or LSD, and is extremely dangerous for the liver. It is also easy to overdose on if too many are taken at once. If your teen is constantly storing cold medicine in their room without your permission, the aforementioned facts can be taken into account.
The Comedown – Comedowns can be spotted in many different ways. Comedowns are caused by the stimulant qualities in Designer drugs on the brain. They are also caused by mal-nutrition and dehydration. Anxiety, fatigue, depression, sleeping all day, and apathetic responses are the main side-effects you should look for. If your child is refusing to eat or experiencing loss of sleep at night, they may be coming down off of a Designer drug. Multivitamins can be taken to help the side effects, and you should look into addiction counseling as it may be a serious problem.
I hope my insight on the Designer drug culture can help you spot drug use in your teen’s lifestyle. These drugs are mentally and physically addictive, not to mention easy to overdose on.  The matter should be taken seriously, but gently.
By Mila Anhielo, Writer Radical Parenting
Flickr Image from Nightlife of Reverly

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