Young people in high school or college are among the most likely in the United States to try new drugs or try new ways of consuming drugs. In a 2013 U.S. government survey, 22.6% of 18-20 year olds reported using illicit drugs within a month of taking the survey. Second on the list of current drug users were Americans between the ages of 21 and 25.
According to the same survey, new drugs are being used most commonly in the same age range – between 17 and 25 years old.
Those pushing drugs on teens and young adults know the above information. They work to create new drugs and new ways to consume drugs which will appeal to young adults. Anything from new “designer” drugs to rebranding ecstasy (MDMA) as Molly, drug makers and distributors have planned and made popular all sorts of drugs and ways of consuming them. Here are just a few ways teens and young adults are getting high:
Oil created from the cannabis plant is nothing new. Hash oil is made by basically putting marijuana and a solvent (butane in this case) together and letting the butane strip the cannabis of cannabinoids. This creates a waxy substance often called dab, wax, honey, amber, and shatter. This oil is extremely potent; the THC content of BHO can range anywhere between 20-80%. BHO is most commonly inhaled through a pipe in a process called “dabbing”. Has oil is also known as “errl”.
Three big problems with BHO:
First, studies show that “dabbing” creates a much higher tolerance to cannabis than just smoking pot. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms after using BHO are much stronger than those experienced by individuals habitually using the marijuana plant. This suggests a higher likelihood of dependence.
The second issue is that the process of making BHO is highly dangerous. Those making the drug are using butane – a highly flammable gas commonly used to light fires in camp stoves and lighters. This process has caused explosions in sites used for BHO production, causing injury and death of people involved. It is basically as dangerous as making meth.
Finally, if the BHO production process is done incorrectly, those taking the drug may consume butane. Taking butane can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, disorientation, hallucinations, violent behavior, seizures, and even suicidal thoughts and actions. The drug is harmful enough as it is, but butane is not a chemical meant for human consumption.
5-MeO-AMT is the common name for a synthetic hallucinogen called 5-methoxy-alpha-methyltryptamine. It is a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no currently accepted medical use in the U.S., is not safe to use, and has a high potential for abuse.
This drug is found in powder or pill form, but more commonly it is infused into sugar cubes, candy, blotter paper or gelatin. It is known as a “club drug” and is used orally but can also be smoked or snorted.
Some of the effects of this drug are:
5-MeO-AMT is mainly used in clubs or during raves, however there have been reports of its use during private parties. While it is a newer drug and has not had as much study as many other illicit substances, deaths have been linked to 5-MeO-AMT use.
Synthetic marijuana, also called K2, Spice, Cloud 9, Relax, Crown, Scooby Snax, and Mojo, was first reported in American back in 2008. Since then, use of this lab-created designer drug has gone up and up.
According to a 2012 government study, 11.3% of high school seniors have used synthetic marijuana. One of the reasons so many kids can get their hands on synthetic pot is that the chemicals used to create the substance change all the time. According to the White House, 51 new synthetic cannabinoids were identified in 2012.
These drugs cause reactions in users that are extremely dangerous, such as:
No matter the name of the product, all synthetic marijuana is similar on a molecular level. This means that it can cause the same negative reactions in users, no matter which type of drug is tried.
This is an old and highly dangerous drug which appears to be finding new life in today’s drug trade. Cheese heroin is made of black tar heroin mixed with crushed over-the-counter antihistamines. The end result is something that looks a little like shredded parmesan cheese. A 2012 report from Texas showed that Americans in their twenties are more likely than other age groups to be admitted to the hospital from heroin-related problems.
Texas suffered a huge outbreak of cheese heroin abuse amongst young Latinos in the early 2000’s. Users from 2004-2009 were more likely to be in the 10-13 year old range. This got so bad that the drug got the unfunny nickname “Kiddie Heroin”.
One of the biggest dangers with cheese heroin (besides the fact that it is made with heroin) is that it is a mixture of drugs that do not interact well together. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, mood changes, and confusion. Heroin also causes these problems, so when the drugs are mixed, bodily functions can be slowed down dangerously – to the point of coma and death.
New drugs trends emerge constantly throughout the United States. Many are older drugs which have cycled back into popularity. But labs in Asia and elsewhere are constantly coming up with new molecule combinations that produce psychoactive effects, which they package as the newest mind-blowing drug – all with no remorse or concern for the health and lives of young people.
It is extremely difficult for the DEA and other government agencies to even keep up with the new chemicals hitting the streets and schools. Parents, concerned individuals and the youth themselves cannot wait for government to act. It is up you and me to educate our children on the truth about drugs. The approach which has proven most workable is one of education, communication and discussion.
If we fail to bring it up, the subject will most certainly arise anyway, but under more stressful circumstances. The time to open the dialogue is right now.