Hello, my name is Justin Moody! I am 17 years old, and will be a senior this school year. I am on the Right Path board, and partake in youth awareness and prevention within Washington County. You may be wondering why 'youth' was in quotes within the headline ... stay tuned and you will find out.
We all have been lectured from our parents, teachers, and important role models, about drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. "Don't do it," "it's bad for you," "don't listen and be peer-pressured." We've all heard these said a million times, but how many times have we heard it from each other; my guess is not a lot, if at all. Are we aware, as youth, the harmful affects that these substances can produce? Do we know how to recognize these substances, using the "slang" words? If your answer was no, then please listen to the rest of this article.
I'm sure everyone is aware of marijuana, chewing, rubbing tobacco, cigarettes, and alcohol, but has anyone heard of K2, or synthetic marijuana? K2 is a combination of herbs mixed with a lab produced strain of marijuana. K2 is being blamed for at least one death, that of 18-year-old suicide victim David Rozga in Iowa, as well as hundreds of emergency room visits and 576 calls to poison-control centers this year alone! The hard part is getting this substance to be illegal. Not only can you purchase it in stores, but you can purchase it online! Ordering K2 online is as easy as using a credit card on eBay. The harmful affects are still present, even though it's easy to purchase. Some harmful side-effects can consist of vomiting, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and heart rate, headaches, and potentially death. The bottom line is you shouldn't harm your body with poison.
In the recent months since you've been on summer vacation, Washington County was hit with a huge drug problem pertaining to bath salts. This substance is worse than crack cocaine and can be consumed by injection, snorting, and drinking. There are "slang" names for bath salts such as: Ivory Wave, Bliss, and Bloom. There are other names, but these are the most commonly used names. Just like K2, there are harmful side-effects such as: paranoia, chest pain, depression, hallucinations, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and can potentially cause death. Fortunately, this isn't the most common substance taken by teenagers, but still needs to be properly addressed.
The most important substance being consumed by teenagers today is prescription drugs, and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs found in their homes. Teens are abusing prescription drugs such as painkillers, depressants, and stimulants, such as medications for ADDHD. Everyday, 2,500 youth ages 12 to 17 abuse a painkiller for the very first time.
Because these drugs are so readily available, I encourage every parent to keep their prescription drugs, and all medications secure and locked away from their children. Seventy percent of the prescription drugs are free from a relative or friend. There are very harmful side-effects such as severe breathing problems, seizures, learning disabilities, and potentially death. Just as all other substances have "slang" names, so do prescription drugs. "Skittle Party" is the most commonly used slang name from teenagers.
In conclusion, I hope you have gained insight from this article about the harmful side-effects and dangers of consuming these substances, some of the "new" drugs being out their in our community. There are numerous resources within Washington County such as The Right Path, local school organizations, and the easiest resource being the internet. A simple Google Search will give you important information regarding teen addictions to these substances and ways of dealing with this important issue. I would like to personally invite you to the upcoming town hall meeting on Aug. 10 at Washington State Community College, where you can gain important knowledge about treating this issue, and resources. This meeting is open to everyone. Bring your parent/guardian, friends, relatives, etc. I recommend sharing this article and seek the appropriate help, because after-all, "we" are the future.
Justin Moody is a youth board member of The Right Path for Washington County.