It’s a common scene in adolescence. Drugs are sold or passed around at private parties, dance clubs, concerts, and bars. Sure, there’s alcohol too. But teen club drugs, as they are called, have far more severe effects than getting drunk. These include LSD (also known as acid), Methamphetamine (meth), MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, and Ketamine.
If your child is already prone to risky behavior, it might be worth exploring the dangers of each of these drugs. And if the communication with your teenager isn’t at its best, which is common in adolescence, then perhaps you might request your teen’s therapist to explore the subject with your child. If your family is not working with a therapist or psychologist, then invite a mentor in the community, an aunt or uncle that your teen trusts, or a teacher or counselor at school to open the conversation. Of course, it is essential your child has a positive and trusting relationship with this adult or the conversation may not go very far.
Whenever that conversation takes place, keep in mind the following list of teen club drugs along with the dangers of using them:
LSD: Although common in the 60’s, this drug is still widely used among teenagers. It is a hallucinogen, which affects sensory perception and mood. However, its effects once ingested vary upon the amount taken, the environment, and the user’s personality, mood, and expectations. LSD is typically taken by mouth by swallowing a tablet, capsule, liquid, or a blotter paper absorbed with the drug. Its effects include swinging emotions, delusions, hallucinations, and sensations that seem to blend, such as hearing colors or seeing sounds. Although this drug is not considered to be addictive, it is seen as dangerous because of its severe effects on emotions, senses, perception and mental stability.
Methamphetamine (Meth): This drug is a very toxic and addictive substance that can cause severe damage to the brain and central nervous system. Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. The high that meth produces includes excited speech, decreased appetite, increased physical activity, and elevated levels of energy. Consequences of meth use include memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and agitation. Meth can also cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain which can lead to strokes. These are only some of the severe health consequences associated with this drug.
MDMA: Also known as Ecstasy, this drug is usually taken orally, in tablet or capsule form, and its effects last 3-6 hours. They are commonly found in clubs, allowing a user to dance for extended periods of time. The drug produces a significant increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and alertness. However, its consequences, such as confusion, depression, sleep disturbance, and anxiety can continued to be experienced even weeks after using the drug. MDMA can be extremely dangerous in high doses.
GHB: Although frequently abused, this drug is actually used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder which causes frequent sleepiness and daytime sleep attacks. It is a depressant that has the positive effects of tranquility, increased sexual drive, and euphoria. Yet, its negative effects on users include nausea, sweating, hallucinations, amnesia; and it can even induce coma. GHB is also known as the “date rape” drug because of its sedative effects and the inability of a user to resist sexual assault.
Ketamine: This is an anesthetic that leads to experiences of dissociation. That is, it produces feelings of distorted perception, detachment from the environment, and a detachment from oneself. Its effects are similar to those of PCP. At a low dose, effects are impaired attention, the development of a learning disability, and memory loss. Higher doses cause dreamlike states, hallucinations, delirium, and amnesia.
Drugs used in a way other than how they are prescribed is considered abuse. The abuse of teen club drugs by teens and at-risk youth can easily lead to irreparable consequences. Discussing these drugs with your teen is a conversation that could save his or her life.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.