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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teen Substance Abuse Awareness

From the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration:

Teens Use Household Items to Conceal Drugs

Teens are using common household items to hide drugs, transport them to school, and in some cases, buy and sell prescription medications. Among the items being used to conceal drugs are soda cans, potato chip containers, lipstick, and even books. The alarming trend is causing great concern among parents and law enforcement. Ava Cooper-Davis, the Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division of DEA, demonstrated how common objects can be transformed into drug carriers. DEA is especially concerned about the growing threat of prescription drugs. In most households, prescriptions are stored in unlocked, easily accessible medicine cabinets. That has given way to “pharm” parties, where teens dump random pills in a bowl at the door, to be shared later on. "Everyone takes a pill," said Cooper-Davis. "Now you have no idea what pill you're taking. On top of it, alcohol is being taken in combination with that and kids are going to bed and never waking up." Just as alarming: two in five teens believe there is nothing wrong with taking prescription drugs, because they are prescribed by a doctor, even if they are intended for someone else.

What Kinds of Things Are Paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia typically used to smoke marijuana, crack, cocaine and methamphetamine like pipes and bongs are easily identifiable drug paraphernalia. Syringes are also widely known to be used to inject a wide variety of drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine and steroids. These forms of drug paraphernalia are often marketed specifically to youth—with colorful logos, celebrity pictures and designs like smiley faces on the products, the items are meant to look harmless and minimize the dangers of taking controlled substances.

Drug paraphernalia, like magic markers, can conceal pipes, and small, hand-painted blown glass items look more like pretty trinkets than pipes or stash containers. Parents need to be aware that these kinds of products often conceal drug use. Identifying drug paraphernalia can be extremely challenging because they are ordinary items, or things that are disguised to resemble ordinary items.

For example, a soda can, lipstick dispenser, felt tip marker or a pager – all normal things that you may find in your child’s room -- could be used as paraphernalia to hide or use drugs. The soda can could have a false bottom to hide drugs; the lipstick dispenser could hide a drug pipe; the felt tip marker might be an internal drug pipe; and the pager could be hollowed out to conceal drugs.

Other items that can be used to conceal drugs include:

Plastic baggies
Small paper bags
Make-up kits
Change bottles
Plastic film canisters
Cigarette packs
Small glass vials
Pill bottles
Breath mint containers
Inside candy or gum wrappers
Here are examples of paraphernalia that are associated with using specific drugs.

Ecstasy paraphernalia includes:

Pacifiers and lollipops are often used to help Ecstasy users guard against the teeth grinding that comes from involuntary jaw clenching.
Candy necklaces are sometimes used to hide Ecstasy pills (bags of small candies also are good for this purpose).
Glow sticks, mentholated rub and surgical masks are often used by kids on Ecstasy to overstimulate their senses.
Water bottles are used to bring alcohol to parties or to transport liquid drugs, such as GHB.

Cocaine paraphernalia includes:

Pipes to smoke crack
Small mirrors and short plastic straws or rolled-up paper tubes
Razor blades
Small spoons (coke spoons)

Marijuana paraphernalia includes:

Rolling papers
Cigars to make a “blunt”
Small plastic baggies and “stash cans”
Deodorizers, incense, room deodorizers used to disguise the smell of marijuana
Pipes (metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic)
Roach clips

Inhalant paraphernalia includes:

Rags used for sniffing
Empty spray cans
Tubes of glue
Plastic bags
Bottles or cans with hardened glue, sprays, paint or chemical odors inside of them

Be on the lookout for common products that are out of place in your home, including items used to cover up drug use:

Mouth washes, breathe sprays and mints are used to cover alcohol or drug odors.
Eye drops are used to conceal bloodshot eyes, and can occasionally be used to deliver acid or other drugs.
Sunglasses worn at seemingly inappropriate times may cover up “red eyes” from smoking drugs, or changes in pupil size or eye movements related to drug use.
Paraphernalia, clothing, jewelry, temporary or permanent tattoos, teen jargon, publications and other displays may reflect messages associated with the “drug culture” and be designed to openly flaunt drug culture involvement or identify drug culture involvement to “insiders.”

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