Category: News Tags: , cough medicine abuse, substance abuse
Using common, household products to get high is nothing new, but every time a news story reports on the latest trend, it seems shocking that anyone would do it. Teens and kids are susceptible to this kind of drug abuse because the chemicals sitting around the house are easy to access. Many of these items can also be bought with no restrictions and for pocket change when compared to illegal street drugs.
It is important for parents of teens and preteens to know what household products teens are using to get high. Kids end up in emergency rooms every year for trying to consume or inhale these items. The best medicine is prevention, so talk with your kids about the dangers and keep the door of communication open. Make sure they know that they can come to you with questions and to talk.
- Cold medicine. Abusing cold medicine has been a pursuit of young people for many years. The compound dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medications, can produce a high when taken in large quantities. Recommended doses are 15 to 30 milligrams. When kids abuse cough syrup, they may take several hundred milligrams at once. This produces a feeling of euphoria, poor motor coordination and even hallucinations. Some teens will drink a whole bottle of cough syrup in pursuit of this high and many end up in the emergency room.
- Electronics duster. A newer high discovered by teens comes from the pressurized spray cans that are used for cleaning electronic equipment. This product is sometimes called keyboard duster because it is used to get the dust from between keys. It is possible to get a high from inhaling the contents of a can of duster, but the danger is that the results can vary quite a lot from person to person. For some people, the result of inhaling it is a rapid heartbeat and dizziness, while others have died just from using it once.
- Whipped cream. Those pressurized canisters of whipped cream contain the gas nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Kids inhale this gas to get a high. The effect is a short-term high that includes dizziness, ringing in the ears, confusion, and excitement. The nickname for this high is a whip-its.
- Nutmeg. Surprising as it may sound, teens have figured out how to get a high from the spice rack. Consuming a large amount of ground nutmeg, around five teaspoons, produces a stimulant-like effect. It can produce a numb sensation in the body, a feeling of euphoria, hallucinations and paranoia. This is due to a compound in nutmeg called myristicin. It also causes pretty serious and unpleasant digestive issues, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Glue. Glue is another household product that kids have been using for many years. The process of inhaling the fumes from glue and other adhesives is called huffing and involves putting the glue in a paper bag and then inhaling. The bag traps the fumes allowing them to be inhaled more easily and efficiently. The fumes from glue products produce a high, but can also cause death, even after the first use.
- Choking. While this trend does not involve a household chemical, it is a type of high that kids are trying because it is easy and accessible. They achieve a high simply by cutting off oxygen to the brain. They do it by choking each other. When done incorrectly, the teen being choked can die. There have also been instances of teens trying the game alone. With no one around to get help, this is particularly dangerous.
When you stop to consider all of the harmful substances lurking in your home and how teens may abuse them, it can be terrifying. The good news is that most teens have no interest in doing this. Even so, it is important to understand what can be used, and how much harm these substances and behaviors can cause. You may trust your child not to try something stupid, but peer pressure is a powerful motivating force. Educate yourself and your children about the dangers of household highs to prevent the unthinkable.