Bath Salts’ Warning

bath-salts Drug Czar Issues Bath Salts‘ Warning

February 7, 2011. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) issued a nationwide warning about the dangers of legal synthetic drugs often marketed as bath salts while various states moved to ban them, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The powdered stimulants — sold online, in gas stations and drug paraphernalia stores as bath salts and plant food under names like "Ivory Wave" — are said to produce highs like cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. Active ingredients include 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (known as MPDV) and mephedrone. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them for human consumption, but they have not been banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 

White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said the so-called "bath salts" can cause "chest pains, increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions," according to the AP. So far this year, 251 calls have been made about them to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, compared to 236 similar calls for all of last year.

"They pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people and anyone who uses them," said Kerlikowske.

Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has introduced a bill that would put the chemicals on the federal list of controlled substances, Reuters reported Jan. 31.

"These so-called bath salts contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics, and they are being sold cheaply to all comers, with no questions asked, at store counters around the country," Schumer said. 

The European Union, Australia, Canada, Israel, as well as several states — Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, and West Virginia — have already banned the substances or are considering legislation to do so. 

In West Virginia, lawmakers were also moving to ban any future variations of the synthetic drugs, according to the Herald-Dispatch Jan. 31.

"We’ve tried to use generic language to cover those situations where a knowledgeable person could change the formulation on new designer drugs. As such, with the wording, that will be covered under the code as well," Delegate Don Perdue (D-Wayne) explained.

"We may not be able to burst the balloon, but we can at least push on it and deflate it a little to the point where it’s less threatening," he said.

The DEA is reviewing data on abuse of the synthetic stimulants but does not currently have plans to ban them. Spokesman Rusty Payne recommended that people avoid the drugs.

"Just because something is not illegal does not mean it’s safe," he said.

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Helping Teens Cope with Stress

Teenaged boy in blue jacket uid 1181059 Stress is a common problem among teens, and as a parent, you have a role in helping the teen in your life cope with it. So what exactly is stress? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress is the body’s physical and psychological response to anything perceived as overwhelming. This may be viewed as a result of life’s demands—pleasant or unpleasant—and the body’s lack of resources to meet them.

While stress is a natural part of life, it often creates imbalance in the body, especially a teen’s body, which is already experiencing so many changes. Girls also report feeling "frequently stressed" more than boys. Visit Teens Today: An Inside Look to learn more about how teen girls and boys change from early to middle to late adolescence.

A certain amount of stress can be helpful as a way of keeping your teen motivated. But too much or too little may render them ineffective and interfere with their relationships at home and socially, as well as their physical well-being. According to a recent survey, 43 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds say they feel stressed every single day; by ages 15 to 17, the number rises to 59 percent. The day-to-day pressures teens experience, such as the pressure to fit in and to be successful, can lead to stress. Jobs and family economics can also prove stressful for teens, as nearly two-thirds of them say they are "somewhat" or "very concerned" about their personal finances.³

If stress becomes unmanageable and teens are left to their own devices without guidance from a parent or caregiver, they may find their own ways of coping. Sometimes these coping mechanisms involve unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking marijuana, and engaging in other risky behaviors.⁴ Here’s how you can help the teen in your life with healthy, productive coping strategies.

  1. Recognize when your teen is stressed-out. Is your teen getting adequate rest? Are they eating well-balanced meals? Do they ever get to take breaks to restore their energy? If these needs are unmet, your teen will show it through chronic moodiness, irritability, anxiety and/or long bouts of sadness. If you have a teen daughter, be particularly aware if she is obsessing about looks or weight.
  2. Introduce positive coping strategies to your teen. Let’s face it, stress will be a part of your teen’s life. Help them identify ways in which they can relieve their stress in a healthy way. It can be as simple as having your teen talk to you about their problems or pressures. Other ideas include: exercising, getting enough sleep, listening to music, writing in a journal, keeping a healthy diet, seeing a counselor and reminding them of their accomplishments.
  3. Be a good example. Young people often pick up their coping strategies by watching their parents. If a child sees a parent drink an alcoholic beverage or smoke a cigarette every time they are overwhelmed, they are more likely to imitate the same behavior. So, be mindful of your own reactions to stress and set a good example for your children.

If signs of stress persist, ask for help. Some sources you can consult include: a health care provider, mental health center, social worker, counselor, nurse, therapist or clergy.

Full story at Managing Teen Stress

See also;

Alarm About Youth Abuse of Cough Medicine

 

Federal researchers say that about 5 percent of 12- to 25-year-olds have misused over-the-counter cold and cough medicines to get high, MSNBC reported Jan. 9.

Both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration have warned about the growing abuse of DXM- and codeine-based medications that in high doses can cause hallucinations and other problems. The medicines can be mixed with soda or sports drinks to create concoctions dubbed “Syrup,” “Purple Drank,” or “Lean.”

Use of such mixes has been popularized in some rap songs, but recent research shows that whites are three times more likely to abuse cold and cough medicines as blacks, with use rates similar to those of LSD, methamphetamine, and ecstasy.

NyQuil, Coricidin, and Robitussin are among the popular brands of abused medications, researchers found.

See also; Huffing and Suicide in Girls

Drugs and Addiction Information for Parents and Teachers

 

You can also read Dr. NIDA’s answers to the most frequently asked questions about drugs and drug abuse here:

Anabolic Steroids—Hand out this “damage diagram” activity and help kids understand the big picture about steroids’ side effects.

Brain & Addiction—Try this activity to get the brain going and the discussion flowing.

Ecstasy—Find out how much your students know or don’t know about ecstasy. Have them try this quiz.

HIV, AIDS, and Drug Abuse—Teach your children/students the connection between drugs and HIV infection.

Marijuana—A friend on “weed” is a friend in need-of your kids’ knowledge. Download and discuss this letter-writing activity.

Nicotine—Try this matching activity in class to help kids understand nicotine’s causes and effects.

Mind Over Matter—This series is designed to encourage young people in grades five through nine to learn about the effects of drug abuse on the body and the brain.

Mind Over Matter Teacher’s Guide—Use this Teacher’s Guide in conjunction with the Mind Over Matter magazine series to promote an understanding of the physical reality of drug use, as well as curiosity about neuroscience.

Full list of resources at; NIDA Drug Abuse and Addiction for Parents and Teachers

See also;

Huffing and Suicide in Girls

 

Study reveals ‘huffing’ household chemicals connected to teen suicide

Girls who ‘huff’ are at higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

With suicide as the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States, a new University of Denver (DU) study reveals inhaling or “huffing” vapors of common household goods, such as glue or nail polish, are associated with increased suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Of the study’s participants,

  • 33 percent reported having inhaled volatile solvents,
  • 25 percent had attempted suicide, and
  • 58 percent reported suicidal thoughts.

Stacey Freedenthal and Jeffrey M. Jenson of DU’s Graduate School of Social Work joined researchers from Chapel Hill and the University of Pittsburgh in a study of 723 incarcerated youth. “Inhalant Use and Suicidality among Incarcerated Youth” appeared in the September 2007 issue of the academic journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study was the first work to categorize both levels of severity of inhalant use and gender in relation to suicidal ideas and suicide attempts.

The investigators found a significant increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts with higher use of volatile solvents.

Researchers did not determine which problem came first, the huffing or the suicidal behavior, but showed that the two are undeniably connected, even when accounting for numerous other factors.

Freedenthal warns parents to be aware of the possibility of suicidal thoughts in children who have been caught inhaling household chemicals.

“Inhalant use has many serious, physiological consequences, including death,” says Freedenthal. “Now we are learning ever more strongly that they are also linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.”

The study found the correlation between huffing and suicidality greater in girls than boys. More than 80 percent of girls who abused inhalants revealed a history of suicide attempts, while less than 60 percent of boys showed the same history. The study also indicated that suicidal thoughts were much higher for girls than boys. Suicidal thoughts and attempts were considered two separate issues, since thoughts do not always lead to attempts, and attempts are not always preceded by much thought.

The study involved 723 participants incarcerated by the Missouri Division of Youth Services, 629 boys and 94 girls at an average age of 15. Participants were asked if they huffed any of the 35 common household substances, such as;

  • paint,
  • paint thinner,
  • shoe polish,
  • spot remover,
  • floor polish,
  • kerosene,
  • gasoline,
  • antifreeze,
  • permanent markers,
  • nail polish remover,
  • mothballs,
  • waxes,
  • lighter fluid, and others.