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What Teens are Faced with Today

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For decades, we have been taught to talk with our kids about drugs and alcohol. We know we should teach them the dangers, help them understand how to avoid certain situations, and make sure they know they can always call us when they are somewhere exposed to alcohol or drugs. We’ve taught our kids to say no to drugs. We’ve supported the schools programs, talked with our children, and feel comfortable that our teens are staying away from illegal narcotics. But, our teens are part of a resourceful generation; they consistently find new ways to seek the temporary escape they may be looking for. As parents, we must be familiar with the new highs our kids hear about and are exposed to.

Prescription Drugs

The home medicine cabinet is rapidly becoming one of the best places for teens to shop for a high. From painkillers to mood enhancers, teens are relying more and more on their parents, or even their own prescriptions to get high. A new trend, “pharming parties” has created an even greater need for these types of medications. The entry fee for pharming parties is simply some type of prescription medication. Once they are gathered, the bottles are opened and dumped providing all party guests quick and easy access to whatever prescription medication they would like to try. Other types of pharming parties provide an outlet for kids to simply trade their prescription medications. The best advice for parents concerned about their teen and prescription medications is to ensure you know the drugs in your house. Know what types have been prescribed, where they are, and how many are in the bottles at all times.

Drinking Games and Binge Drinking

Teens know it is illegal for them to consume alcohol. Unfortunately, it is easily accessible and many of them believe the occasional consumption of alcohol is less dangerous than sampling drugs. And many of these children have been fooled by their friends, peers, and social media, to think that binge drinking is not only okay if it is occasional, but that it is normal and expected. The sole purpose of binge drinking is to get drunk; there are no other goals and one of the easiest ways teens get involved in binge drinking is through drinking games. These games are social and for the teen who is struggling to find his or her place in the scheme of the school social setting, they ease the tension and offer an immediate “in”. Teaching your teens they need to avoid alcohol is important; however, other conversations need to regularly take place. Teens need to understand the necessity of drinking responsibly and the dangers that large amounts of alcohol can have on their systems.

Huffing

Although it is not a new concept, the use of inhalants to get high is still extremely prevalent among teens today. Like many others, huffing is a simple concept. It is simply the intentional breathing in of vapors or chemicals to achieve a high of some kind, usually by pouring the chemical on a rag and holding it to the mouth or nose, or spraying a chemical in a confined space before inhaling. Many teens do not realize that huffing, just like other types of drug abuse, is addictive and dangerous. Unfortunately for many parents, these vapors can be found in numerous and common household items. Early education is the best prevention most parents have to help their children combat any sort of introduction into huffing.

The Choking Game

Finding those few moments of a euphoric high without any trace of drugs or alcohol can be exciting for teens and many of them have found it with a new activity that can become just as addictive as swallowing pills, smoking, or injecting drugs. The Choking Game, otherwise known as The Fainting Game, Pass Out, or Space Monkey, does just that. On average, this game is introduced as early as the age of 14. It is cheap and extremely easy to play, which makes it an up and coming favorite among teens today. The premise of the game is as simple as the name suggests and it can be played alone or with other people. The player ties a rope, necktie, or other devices, around the neck, or even a simple plastic bag over the head, and tightens it until the player loses consciousness. Although the rush is short, teens seek it out again and again without ever realizing this game can become as addictive and deadly as any other form of drugs. But similarly, and fortunately for parents, there are cautionary indications that can be seen. Frequent headaches, unusual marks or bruises around the neck area or bloodshot eyes are common warning signs.

Although it may be impossible to know every term, game, or new invention your teen may be exposed to, it is not impossible to know your child. Spend time together. Know their friends. Listen when they talk. When you know your teen, it is easier to observe any changes in behavior they may be exhibiting. It is also good to have conversations with each other so you know what is going on in their life and they know they can come to you with anything. This truly is the best tool you have to help your teen wade through the difficulties on these years.

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