Atlanta Youth And Drugs

youth and drugs

A look at the drug use in Fulton and DeKalb counties

WHO IS USING?

Teenaged boys were arrested for drug possession 24 times more than their female counterparts in DeKalb county, while in Fulton county, the gap degreases to just 10 males arrested per female. The reckless nature of teenage boys may be the reason for their higher drug use, or it could simply be that girls are much better at hiding their use, and are therefore less likely to be arrested. Overall, 181 juveniles in Fulton and 100 in Dekalb were arrested for drug possession, not including those arrested for possession with intent to sell.

WHAT ARE THEY USING?

Based on arrest statistics from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the drug most widely used and sold by youth in Fulton and DeKalb is marijuana. The drug with the next highest use in these two counties is cocaine, however the US Department of Justice lists it as seventh of eleven drugs used by teenagers. According to the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign, the most common drugs are found within the home. They say that illegal use of prescription medications is on the rise nationwide, but there were only two arrests in both counties for illegal possession of prescription drugs. The juvenile drug use trends in these two Atlanta counties deviate strongly from the national averages with much higher use of cocaine and significantly lower abuse of prescription drugs.

WHAT DOES MONEY HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

These drugs aren’t cheap. At $100 per gram of cocaine or ounce of marijuana, buyers need a decent flow of cash to experiment and even more to support a habit. Simply put, teens whose parents make more money can afford more drugs. According to the 2000 US Census, the median per capita income for DeKalb County was around $24,000, and about $30,000 in neighboring Fulton County. There were 1.8 times more arrests for juvenile drug possession in the more affluent Fulton County than DeKalb during the same three-month period.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Certain groups advocate awareness, claiming that adolescents will make the correct decision once they are informed about the dangers of drugs. One approach from England’s The Daily Mail, suggests that parents limit their children’s pocket money to reduce their purchase of drugs. Whatever preferred method parents choose, the first defense is always at home, according to The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Parents should always be on the lookout for signs that their child is using or abusing drugs.

The Rise of Prescription Pill Abuse

prescription pill

The Basics Behind Non-Medical Use of Pills and Remedies

According to the National Institute survey, prescription drug use is an “area of concern” for teens, and 15.4 percent of high school seniors report using prescription and over the counter drugs for non-medical purposes. In other words, a teen is just as likely to get drugs from the family medicine cabinet than a dealer on the street.

“I started abusing pills when I was just 13,” reports one addict, who is currently living in a sober treatment facility after seeking help for a ten year addiction. “I found so many ways to get high around the house. Diet pills, cough syrup, Oxycontin, Xanax. It was easy to steal the pills and get high.”

Commonly Abused Medications

  • Opiods. Prescribed as painkillers, these include medications with codeine, oxycodone or morphine, such OxyContin, Perocet, Percodan and Vicodan. Abusing these pills brings on a feeling of euphoric pleasure.
  • Sedatives and Tranquillizers. Often prescribed for sleeplessness or anxiety attacks, abusing drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Nembutal produces a general feeling of peace and well-being.
  • Stimulants. Includes diet pills and ADD/ADHD medications, including Ritalin and Adderall. A user will experience a fast, “speedy” feeling, as well as increased heart rate, from taking these pills.
  • OTC, or Over the Counter medications. Popular choices include medications, such as cough syrup, which contain dextromethorphan, or DXM. Other choices include large doses of diet pills, sleep aids, or motion sickness medication.

Pill Accessibility

Often, teens abuse prescription and OTC medication because they’re easier to buy than street drugs, as well as more socially acceptable. Sources include:

  • Medicine cabinets of family and friends. One quick trip to Grandma’s bathroom can turn up all kinds of items for a resourceful user.
  • The Internet. Type in “Buy Oxycontin” on a Google search and 1.3 million sites will surface, as well ways to isolate DXM in cough syrup.
  • Doctor shopping. Users either lie to doctors to obtain more or different drugs, or visit multiple doctors to insure a steady supply.

Prevention

While teens face pressure from the outside world, parents can make home a safe and inviting environment. Other tips for preventing prescription pill abuse include:

  • Remove old medication from cabinets. If there is no longer a medical need, there is no need for the pills.
  • Keep medications locked up, and monitor the levels of pills/liquids in the bottles.
  • Talk to your kids. Opening lines of communication, even about uncomfortable subjects, will allow the best opportunity to defuse potentially dangerous situations.

If the possibility of prescription pill abuse is already there, seek medical help immediately. The abuse of pills, especially the mixing of different pills or with alcohol, could have deadly consequences.

Salvia Divinorum:The Legal Drug

Salvia Divinorum

There was a time when marijuana, cocaine, even LSD was legal. Thankfully, state and federal laws were enacted to outlaw these dangerous drugs and protect society as a whole. Now, there is another drug that is causing concern across America, Salvia Divinorum, and yes, Salvia is legal.

Salvia Divinorum has received the street name as the “new marijuana”, however its effects are closer to those of LSD. It is a member of the Sage family and when taken, produces psychoactive or psychotropic effects. This is a result of Salvia affecting the central nervous system. Salvia’s effects occur very quickly and the user reports a sense of altered consciousness nearly immediately after taking.

Salvia: Spiritual Journey or Quick High

The Salvia Divinorum plant is not new to humankind. Mazatec shamans have used it for thousands of years. They primarily use Salvia to create a drink that is believed to enhance their healing powers and direct them on a spiritual course; teens use Salvia for a quick mind-altering high. Salvia, unlike many other drugs, does not last long. Depending upon the dose taken, the effects of Salvia may last anywhere from ten minutes to one hour.

Salvia on YouTube

The appearance of Salvia videos on YouTube has sparked an increase in recognition of the herb as well as its use. YouTube hosts a number of videos that show teenagers using Salvia and also documents their experiences while under its influence. The videos reveal that the herb has the ability to completely disorient its users, gives them uncontrollable laughter, and the feeling of greater awareness of spiritual truths. Since Salvia has been used by shaman for its spiritual purposes, most people report that they experience great spiritual visions and imagery when taking Salvia.

Salvia – Legal but is it Safe?

Safety is of the greatest concern regarding Salvia Divinorum. The fact is that there simply haven’t been enough studies or research regarding Salvia to determine its long term effects, or even if it has therapeutic or medical benefits. However, this hasn’t stopped many people from determining that Salvia needs to be controlled.

Salvia is becoming quickly regulated due to the fact that there have been negative and tragic reports attributed to its use. Though there have yet to be any deaths associated with Salvia Divinorum, one family believes that Salvia use may have contributed to the suicide of their son- Brett Chidester.

Salvia Divinorum: Brett’s Law

Though there has been no concrete conclusion that Brett Chidester committed suicide because of Salvia, the herb was found in his system as revealed through toxicology reports. There were other factors that may have contributed to Brett’s suicide but the family could not overlook the fact that Salvia may have played a role. They lobbied and Brett’s Law was signed into law in April of 2006, just several month’s after Brett’s suicide. This began a closer look at Salvia across the states and many other states have followed suit. Additionally, states across the globe are continuing to look at Salvia and are taking measures to control this psychoactive herb.