Well, it is the last day of the year and this will be my last post of 2015. It’s New Year’s Eve and that means a lot of us will be going to parties, gathering with friends and family, or just staying home and watching Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve hosted by Ryan Seacrest (I fall into this last category). As I was imagining the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York, my mind switched to the party culture that is associated around this holiday. Time
|My New Year’s Eve Party|
Magazine reported that this massive New Year’s Eve party has been a tradition since 1904 and the first ball drop occurred in 1907. Personally, I have never visited New York City on December 31st; however, each year over one million people line Time Square to welcome in the New Year. In this crowd, you will see young and old coming together to participate in one massive party with lots of excitement; however, after midnight they magically disappear. It seems like one big great time, but there is a seedier side to this good time. Researchers found that 30 days before the New Year, drug use increases. In fact, National Geographic Magazine ran a story about drug dealing gangs and how they stock up on their products to capitalize on the New Year’s Eve drug demand. In fact before heading out into the square, many consumers are approached by suppliers to buy their drug of choice or experience the newest drug trend.
|Before New Year’s Eve, drug use increases|
Each year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports on the latest drug trends around the world. These new trends show there are no limits to the imagination and tactics of the drug chemists and dealers to find new customers. Unfortunately, the targets of many of the dealers are our teens who are easy pray because they are looking for an easy, cheap high. Not only are teens looking for a quick high, but they are looking to fit in, experiment, rebel from rules, and relax in their surroundings. Again, they are easy targets to these new trends!!
Latest Drug Trends
Each year, I am amazed with the new drugs that our teens are taking! So, I did some research and I wanted to share some of the alarming drug trends in the US, Canada, and Europe among teens. This list will contain some of the most alarming teen drug trends in the last five years.
Fentanyl (Street names: Apache, China Girl, Dance Fever, TNT)
Fentanyl is an opioid that is estimated to be 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin and often used to help patients with pain management. Users often mix Fentanyl with other drugs to amplify their potency. Law enforcement and medical professionals in the United States and Canada are very concerned about the rise in use of Fentanyl among teens. The newest trend is that party drugs, like marijuana and oxycodone, are often laced with the substance which can cause teens to overdose.
Synthetic Cannabinoids or Marijuana (K-2, Spice, Black Mamba)
Designed to be a safe and legal alternative to marijuana, synthetic weed is a psychoactive substance intended to mimic the effects of marijuana. With the belief that it is natural and “harmless”, teens are easily seduced in purchasing the substance to smoke in e-cigarettes or hookahs. Some of the problems with synthetic weed include its highly addictive properties and psychotic features including hallucinogens, extreme paranoia, and altered perception.
Flakka or alpha-PVP
Flakka is an extremely addictive synthetic cathinone that is similar to cathinone drugs popular in bath salts. Although bath salts are extremely dangerous, Flakka is bath salts to the extreme. In fact, the word Flakka in Spanish means beautiful elegant woman who fools all! Produced in China, Flakka emerged in South Florida as a legal substitute for heroin. Because of its highly addictive nature, dealers are lacing marijuana with Flakka increasing their customer base (it doesn’t help that it is only $3 to $5!). The effects of Flakka are so severe that the only way to bring down a user is to sedate the person until he or she comes back to reality which can take up to 30 days! Even when a person comes back to reality, he or she will possibly portray unpredictable behavior.
Superman pills or PMMA
Created in the Netherlands as a substitute for Ecstasy, Superman pills are a legal, adulterated form of MDMA that has become popular in Great Britain. Like Ecstasy, club kids are drawn to the drug for feelings of euphoria and high levels of energy. Because the drug works slower than MDMA, many drug users make the decision to take more which may lead to an overdose. Doctors warn that friends of users should keep a close eye on them and don’t hesitate to call an ambulance.
Caffeine powder is legal and available for sale online for purchase. Teens and young adults are particularly drawn to caffeine powder as a method of losing weight or staying awake for finals. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one teaspoon of caffeine powder is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. Physicians warn parents to be aware of the deadly potential of caffeine powder.
Although marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes, e-cigarettes are an electronic device that delivers nicotine in a flavored vapor rather than smoke. Because e-cigarettes are relatively new, there have not been a lot of studies about the health results from their use. In current studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that teens who started using e-cigarettes are more likely to start using tobacco.
Krokodil is a highly toxic synthetic opioid that emerged in Russia, but has recently appeared in the United States. Although it has a shorter duration, its effects are powerful! The term krokodil is the result of the grayish, dead skin that forms about the injection site. Physicians have reported amputating limbs to save the user’s life because the drug literally eats the person from the inside out.
Warning!!! This is a graphic video and I have posted it to show the severity of the use of Krokodil. Watch at your own risk…you have been warned.
N-Bomb (Smiles, Legal Acid)
N-Bomb is three closely related synthetic hallucinogens that are often sold as a legal substitute for LSD. The drug is sold as a liquid, powder, or on a soaked blotter paper and must be absorbed in order to take effect (snorted, injected, smoked, or inserted rectally). Due to its high potency, producers of the drug often wear masks, glasses, and gloves to protect themselves from an overdose. Hospitals are seeing more and more cases of young people coming into emergency rooms with psychotic features and severe physical effects.
Purple Drank (Lean)
The purple drank contains a prescription cough syrup mixed with soda and hard candy that has been made popular by rap artists in the club scene. In fact, a slowed down form of rap called “chopped and screwed” was created for clubbers sipping on the drank. Due to the ease of accessibility, over 12% of high school students in Texas and Florida have reported abusing the purple drank which is known for its feelings of euphoria and reduction of motor skills. Want to know more? Check out my post on the purple drank and the school counselor.
According to Live Science, the consumption of energy drinks has increased among high school, middle school and even elementary school students! School nurses have seen increased trends of students with heart palpitations in their offices. In addition, researchers found that adolescents who consume energy drinks are at risk for depression and later substance abuse. The dangers of seizures, stroke, and death are very real for children because of their smaller body mass.
Pharm Parties (Skittle Parties)
Imagine going to a party and seeing a buffet table full of colorful pills spread out on a table. Teens form lines on each side of the table, pick up a zip lock bag, and select pills they want to take. New Year’s Eve is notorious for the introduction of teen phram parties because pharmaceuticals are easy to get out of parent’s and grandparent’s medicine cabinets. The most popular drugs for teens include Oxycotin, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Adderall, and Concerta.
If you are a school counselor, you may see the devastating effects of drug use on teens and their families. Although we are not addiction therapists, I think that school counselors can make an impact on teens and families by providing drug fact information and education. In fact, you have this opportunity each January during Drug Fact Awareness Week. If you want to know more about Drug Fact Awareness Week, check out my post from 2015.
Additional Resources on Drug Use Among Teens
Band Back Together Drug Resources
Commonly Abused Drug Chart
Dropout Crisis and Substance Abuse
How Getting High Can Get You AIDS
Marijuana Use Detrimental to Youth
Monitoring Our Future: NIDA Chat on Drug Use and Teen Attitudes
Substance Abuse Facts
The 10 Hardest Drugs to Kick
Truth About Drugs
Vaping: The Evolution of Marijuana