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Tuesday, April 02 2019
What Parents of Teens Need To Know About Inhalant Abuse

In my years of selling drug tests, I have spoken to more parents that have lost children to huffing than to any other type of drug death.  It is especially sad since the kids that will use inhalants are often especially young and lack information about how dangerous huffing really is. These substances are readily available to them when others might not be. We called it “bagging” back in the 70’s. It is a ridiculous thing to do, and not a pleasant high- and is often caused purely from peer pressure. Another driving factor here is less chance of being caught while intoxicated because the effects of inhalants are so brief. The ease of hiding inhalant abuse is another reason that these substances are so commonly abused by teenagers.

As with all things, knowledge is power. Learn about inhalants and know the signs of inhalant use.

 Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect. Although other abused substances can be inhaled, the term "inhalants" is used to describe a variety of substances whose main common characteristic is that they are rarely, if ever, taken by any route other than inhalation. This definition encompasses a broad range of chemicals that may have different pharmacological effects and are found in hundreds of different products. They are found in a multitude of inexpensive, easily available products used for common household and industrial purposes. These include paint thinners and removers, dry-cleaning fluids, degreasers, gasoline, glues, correction fluids, and felt-tip markers. Aerosols are sprays that contain propellants and solvents. They include spray paints, deodorant and hair sprays, vegetable oil sprays for cooking, and fabric protector sprays. Gases include medical anesthetics as well as gases used in household or commercial products. Generally, inhalant abusers will abuse any available substance. Young teenagers seem to especially abuse Dust-Off- maybe because of easy availability.

 Statistics show that huffing is most common among children aged 12 to 17 and peaks among 14-year olds. The lungs absorb inhaled chemicals into the bloodstream very quickly, sending them throughout the brain and body. Nearly all inhalants (except nitrites) produce a "high" by slowing down brain activity. Nitrites, in contrast, expand and relax blood vessels.

Inhalants often contain more than one chemical. Some chemicals leave the body quickly, but others stay for a long time and get absorbed by fatty tissues in the brain and central nervous system. Over the long term, the chemicals can cause serious problems. Depending on the type of inhalant and the specific product being abused, these side effects may not be permanent and may be reversed by discontinuing the abuse of inhalants. In some cases, however, these effects may be permanent. Some examples of permanent damage caused by inhalant use include damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain, including permanent death of brain cells resulting in memory loss and difficulty obtaining new knowledge. The side effects are especially dangerous in individuals under the age of 25, because the brain does not fully develop until that time. In some cases, the brain may never fully develop, which is referred to as Delayed Behavioral Development. Repeated inhalant abuse can have serious consequences on a person’s long-term physical and mental health. These effects are quite serious and can be life-threatening because the chemicals in inhalants can build up in the fatty tissue of major organs.

Inhalant abuse usually creates effects that mirror alcohol intoxication, but may also have psychoactive effects such slurred speech, increased gregariousness, diminished motor skills, dizziness and hallucinations.Inhalant abuse can be hard to detect because its effects are so short-lived. Some common signs of inhalant abuse include:

  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Unusual smelling breath
  • Paint or stains on clothing or face
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drunk appearance
  • Anxiety

The short-lived effects of inhalants may lead people to incorrectly assume that these substances aren’t that dangerous. Many individuals also feel inhalants aren’t that dangerous because they are not prescribed and are found around the house. However, inhalants are actually just as dangerous as many hard drugs, and in many cases more dangerous. Inhalants can cause heart failure and respiratory distress, leading to a fatal overdose even with the first use.

Posted by: Kim AT 12:16 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 26 2019
Fentanyl- The Drug that is Causing Thousands of Accidental Overdoses and Deaths

In our 16 years in the business of testing teenagers for drug abuse, we have never been so motivated to issue an alert like this!

Right now drug dealers everywhere adding a deadly component to prescription and street drugs that is unbelievably dangerous and even deadly. To make their drugs “better” and more addictive, they are adding fentanyl and carfentanyl to heroin, opiates, and benzodiazepines. Obviously, any kind of pill or anything you purchase on the street is dangerous. You actually have absolutely no way of knowing what is in it to start with. Even if someone tells you it's hydrocodone and even if it looks like hydrocodone (for example), there's no way to know if that's what it really is. It could be tampered with in many ways, 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is not detected on any traditional multi-panel drug screens. It has now been synthesized by drug dealers and is frequently “cut” or mixed with heroin or cocaine (often without the user’s knowledge)and goes by ominous names like Bomb, Drop Dead, Flatline, and Lethal Injection. One gram of pure Fentanyl can be cut into approximately 7,000 doses for street sale, and manufacture of the drug requires relatively little technical knowledge.

Fentanyl is thought to be even more addictive than heroin, and users become hooked very quickly. Use of this drug is on an enormous rise among teens. If you currently test a teen that could abuse opioids, you absolutely should check for Fentanyl in addition to the other tests for opiates and oxycodone. Fentanyl testing requires a separate drug test kit.

Most of us are familiar with names like Oxycodone, Oxycontin, or Percocet- but we may not know much about the drug that is killing thousands across the U.S. sold under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic and Sublimaze, Fentanyl is the strongest opioid approved for medical use in the United States, rated as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. As a pharmaceutical, Fentanyl is the go-to drug to dull the crippling, otherwise-untouchable pain experienced by many patients with advanced cancer. Fentanyl is so powerful that it is administered in micrograms instead of milligrams, and we have read that it was never intended to treat chronic pain. It is said that it was originally formulated to be used to make some death experiences faster and less painful. Even very small amounts can be fatal. 

Law enforcement and doctors agree that it is extremely over-prescribed and highly sought after by addicts. The drug is medically administered in a variety of ways, including a spray form taken orally, the adhesive patch, and a lollipop (which are sold in some areas under the street name of "Perco Pop"), a frighteningly popular item. It is also taken intravenously or made into a powder and snorted, similar to cocaine. Some heroin dealers mix fentanyl powder with heroin to increase potency or compensate for low-quality heroin. Once the fentanyl is in the user's system, it is extremely difficult to stop its course because of the nature of absorption. 

The overdose and fatalities related to fentanyl are staggering. Users can be convinced that pure fentanyl and other opiates mixed with fentanyl are “better”, but the reality is that users have no idea what they are getting. Death from fentanyl can be so quick that the Narcan shot to reverse it or CPR often come too late. The deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Prince are attributed to Fentanyl. 

To order this test or others, or to learn more about drug testing teenagers, please visit DrugTestYourTeen.com.

Posted by: Kim AT 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 21 2019

You may even be wondering, “What is a Juul, and what does Juuling mean?” A Juul is a type of e-cigarette (short for electronic cigarette). The majority of adults can’t even identify a Juul and say that they have never tried one, but the same cannot be said about most teens. Juuls are easy to hide and use discreetly since they don’t produce smoke, vapor or generate much smell. A Juul looks like an ordinary thumb drive. Juuls come in appealing flavors like mint, cucumber, creme, and mango. The typical Juul delivers a lot of nicotine, and it goes down easy. The most popular Juul Pod is about 5 percent nicotine — which is roughly as much nicotine as is in a pack of cigarettes, according to the company.

 

A 2017 survey conducted by the Schroeder Institute at Truth Initiative found that 25 percent of teens aged 15 to 17 and 29 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 recognized a Juul device. Between 10 and 12 percent reported both recognizing and having ever used a JUUL, and 8 to 10 percent reported recognition and past 30-day use. E-cigarette use has risen to 77 percent among high school students and 50 percent for middle school students, respectively, from 2017 to 2018. The estimates show that more than 3.5 million minors vaped at least once in 2018.

Juul is now considered a leader in the e-cigarette market. Since 2017, two years after the first release, sales of Juul kits increased 680 percent; sales of refills increased 710 percent.

 

In May 2016, the FDA banned the sale of vaping products to children under 18 years old. But there’s still concern that teens are using e-cigarettes and Juuls in growing numbers. Juuls can be purchased at gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops. Experts believe that young e-cigarette users face an increased risk for both starting to smoke and becoming long-term users of cigarettes and/or other tobacco products. 

 

Studies show the chemicals in Juuls and other e-cigs can wreak havoc on the respiratory system and contribute to health problems like severe respiratory illness and irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucus membranes. Studies suggest that Juul devices, vaping, or e-cigs can lead to problems with brain development, lung damage, and an increased risk for high blood pressure and an increased risk for nicotine/smoking addiction. According to a 2018 report published by the American Physiological Society (APS), these chemical components seem to be capable of becoming embedded in the lungs, causing inflammation and leaving the lungs vulnerable to infection and numerous other health problems — one potentially being addiction to nicotine and withdrawal effects. 

 

Teenagers like to repeat what they have been convinced by peers and the folks that sell these devices. The favorites are that they are “all natural”, “harmless”, and “non- addictive”. If this were true, the FDA would not be so concerned about getting these things out of the hands of teens.

 

What is a parent to do? First, make sure your kids understand that these innocent, cool, deliciously flavored things are actually time bombs! Show them the research, and make them understand that they are just smoking cigarettes in disguise!

 

Next, don’t kid yourself that you will know that your child is using nicotine products, or that you will smell it, or that your kid just knows better, or the line that they all use- “you know that I think smoking is disgusting”.

 

It is so easy and so very smart to begin testing kids (around 6thgrade, sadly). It demonstrates to them that you are not playing around and that they can be caught and made to suffer some heavy-duty consequences if they do ever test positive. Testing is easy, inexpensive, accurate, and can be performed in the privacy of your home.  

Posted by: Kim AT 10:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 15 2018

It‘s not news that a defiant teen will argue about pretty much anything. As parents, we so badly want to believe what they tell us is the truth, but if we feel a need to test, we need to trust the test until we are able to prove otherwise.

These tests promise 99%+ accuracy. In my many years of selling drug-testing supplies, I’ve heard of one instance when I actually believed that the drug, alcohol, or tobacco test might be wrong. These are the same tests used by law enforcement, employers, etc. Occasionally a positive test for a drug that a teen takes by prescription is detected, like Adderall (an amphetamine) for instance, which just means the test is doing its job.

If you come to an impasse regarding a positive result because your teenager convinces you that the result is wrong (in their best shrieking voice), you need to give them the benefit of the doubt. 

Make sure to always reserve the collected urine so that you can use the same urine that yielded the positive test.

First, look under laboratory/drug testing in your local yellow pages (if available), or Google “employee drug-testing lab”. A specialized drug testing lab will be far cheaper than a big reference lab like Quest or Lab Corp. Call to get a price for a non-legal confirmation test for the drug in question, and make sure they will allow you to bring the urine into the lab rather than collect a new one there. Around $35 is standard for this service.

It is important to let your child know that you are spending “a lot” of money to allow him to prove his innocence, and if the confirmation test that you are paying for proves that he is lying, that will be a total game changer! Most confessions occur while the parent and teen are driving the specimen to a lab! Even the worst kids usually won’t take it that far. You will probably hear that it was an accident, or that she was in a car with kids that blew smoke on her, or he accidentally ate a THC candy! 

It is important that you be proud of yourself as a parent that you are taking charge and sticking to your guns. Sometimes dealing with teenagers without an at-home lie detector test can feel impossible. You can get to the truth about drug use. Don’t be afraid of the truth. Sticking your head in the sand will likely just exacerbate the problem.

Posted by: Kim AT 10:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email