February 1, 2017
This newsletter will focus on commonly misused prescription drugs, plus other risky and dangerous drugs, given that we have already covered alcohol and marijuana in our prior newsletters. (If you’d like to view our October and December newsletters on those topics, visit www.betheinfluencemarin.com).
Dear Be the Influence (“BTI”) Parents,
We want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. We’d especially like to extend a warm welcome to all Marin Catholic BTI parents, as Be the Influence was recently launched at MC!
ANNOUNCEMENT ON NEW MERGED PARENT LIST:
An exciting and important change to our Be the Influence Marin program is that we are finally merging the separate Parent Participant Lists for all schools in the Tamalpais Union High School District (Redwood, Tam, Drake, Tamiscal and San Andreas) plus San Domenico High School into a new single Parent List.
Branson and Marin Catholic will still maintain their own Parent Lists. Drake parents need to "opt in" by February 15th by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or else they can sign up again by going to http://betheinfluencemarin.com
This way, for example, when your Redwood teen goes to a Drake party, you can now search a single Parent List containing all Tam District and San Domenico parents. This makes sense as our teens often attend the same parties. The list is now much easier to search and can be accessed by going to www.search.betheinfluencemarin.com or to the general website at www.betheinfluencemarin.com (click on “Parent Lists”).
NOTE: the new password is now “btiparent” (lower case).
OPT OUT. If you are from one of these schools (Redwood, Tam, Tamiscal, San Andreas and San Domenico) and DO NOT wish to be part of this new merged Parent List, you may opt out by emailing email@example.com.
Onto the subjects of the month, this newsletter will cover the following topics:
Questions or Comments? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we welcome your feedback.
Please read on!
COMMONLY USED PRESCRIPTION AND OTHER RISKY AND DANGEROUS DRUGS
The vast majority of Marin teens do not abuse prescription or so called “hard” drugs. California Healthy Kids Survey (“CHKS”) results for 2015-16 show past month use of these drugs by Tamalpais High School District 11th grade teens to be in the single digits (although lifetime use is higher in the double digits). See http://www.tamdistrict.org/domain/1131
Yet there are disturbing increases in use, especially with respect to prescription drugs, and the consequences for those who abuse these drugs are harsh. Over the past 15 years,
drug related ER visits and deaths in Marin have tripled. Teen and adult related deaths in Marin occur at shocking rates.
From 2012 to 2013, there was one accidental overdose death every two weeks in Marin. The year 2016 was a particularly deadly one, with more drug related deaths of young Marin males than in previous years. These deaths often resulted from a combination of alcohol and other drugs or the abuse of multiple drugs at the same time (called “polysubstance abuse”).
For this reason, Marin County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis, who has a child at Drake High School, has called drug use in Marin “an ongoing public health crisis.” For an alarming article about the magnitude of this problem, read “A Dangerous Game” at http://marinmagazine.com/September-2016/Dangerous-Game/.
Prescription (Rx) Drug Abuse
ADDERALL, RITALIN and Other ADHD Drug Abuse.
Adderall and Ritalin are two popular drugs which are used primarily to treat the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). Other ADHD drugs include Dexedrine, Focalin, Vyvanse and Concerta. Adderall, normally referred to as “Addies”, is the most commonly abused of these drugs and is a combination of amphetamine (known as “speed” or “uppers”) and dextroamphetamine. Ritalin is also abused and is a methylphenidate, which has similar effects to amphetamines.
Stimulant Classification. These drugs are classified as central nervous system stimulants, which means they speed up and heighten certain bodily processes. Those who have been diagnosed properly as having ADHD and take these drugs feel a calming, centering effect.
Abuse is Common. Yet, increasing numbers of teens and young adults who don’t have ADHD inaccurately believe that taking these drugs will help improve their ability to maintain focus and productivity while studying, taking tests, working or participating in sports. Some take these drugs recreationally. For those users, taking these drugs feels just like taking speed - legal speed.
Adderall and Ritalin abuse is becoming ubiquitous in high schools and college environments. For a Redwood High School Bark article on the use of Adderall by students, go to www.redwoodbark.org/2012/11/students-turn-to-drugs-to-enhance-test-performance.
Side Effects. Common symptoms of Adderall abuse include dry mouth, headache, hoarseness, nausea, digestive issues, reduced appetite, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, excessive fatigue, pounding or fast heartbeat and shortness of breath. Ritalin abuse runs the risk of similar negative side effects.
Dangerous Consequences. With long-term or high dose abuse, the symptoms can compound and lead to even more dangerous effects. These include weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, dizziness, slowed or difficult speech, chest pain, hives or rashes, changes in vision, aggressive behavior, paranoia, mania and seizures. Since these are stimulants, serious cardiovascular complications include increased heart rate, increased body temperature to dangerous levels, heart attacks, cardiac arrest or strokes.
Symptoms of Overdose. These include panic attack, hyperventilation, cardiac rhythm abnormalities, hallucinations, uncontrollable tremors, profound confusion or delirium, vertigo, loss of consciousness and coma.
Post-effect Crash. Like Cocaine or any other stimulant, the “up feeling” from Adderall and Ritalin is followed by a crash, a feeling of fatigue, depression and decreased alertness. This can lead to additional abuse to obtain the high.
Tolerance, Dependency and Addiction. Unprescribed abuse of Adderall can be very addictive. Long-term abuse can lead to increased tolerance. Often, as use increases, it becomes impossible to ever recreate the initial high. This can lead to dependency, which in turn can lead to addiction. Over time, the resulting increase in dopamine activity can because subtle brain changes that reinforce drug behavior to the point of being quite difficult to reverse on one’s own.
An interview that highlights why teens are more susceptible to addiction is at http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/28/381622350/why-teens-are-impulsive-addiction-prone-and-should-protect-their-brains
Short versus Long-term Use. On a short-term basis, non-ADHD users may stay up all night, read more and finish more problems, or work harder, but on a long-term basis, sleep/wake cycles are interrupted and the drugs do not improve one’s ability to learn or work. Non-ADHD users are learning or working in an “altered state” which is called “state dependent learning”. Someone who studies or works in an altered state may not remember the information when he or she returns to a non-altered state.
As Dr. Jan Maisel, a Greenbrae pediatrician has stated, “if someone stays up all night, whether assisted by a medicine or not, and does all this work and then goes off to take a test on this work or make a presentation, if they haven’t slept sufficient hours, they are much less able to put the work that they did into their long-term memory”. Studies show that students who abuse Adderall and Ritalin are more likely to have lower grades than students who do not abuse the substance.
Easy Access. A 2016 survey among 18-28 year olds found that roughly 63% obtained these drugs from friends, 18% from classmates and 20% from family.
Using for Recreational Purposes or Combining with Alcohol. Popping ADHD drugs with alcohol keeps users awake for more partying as these drugs counter the depressive effects of alcohol. The euphoria and happiness from these drugs, as well as reportedly better and more frequent sex, can lead to recreational abuse at parties and nightclubs.
Gateway drug. Unprescribed Adderall, Ritalin and other ADHD drugs are becoming known as gateway drugs to Cocaine, Ecstasy, Heroin and Methamphetamine (“meth”), especially when those drugs are cheaper. Meth and Adderall are almost chemical siblings - the methyl group simply allows the Meth to race through the body and hit harder. After that, meth breaks down and metabolizes into amphetamine. Meth and amphetamine cause the same side effects, same potential for overdose and same risk of physical dependence and addiction.
Research done at UC Berkeley identified a relationship between ADHD and use of stimulants in childhood and dependence on other stimulants in adulthood. According to another study, adolescent rats given repeated doses of Ritalin were more likely to self-administer Cocaine.
Slang Terms. These include Kiddy Cocaine, Truckdrivers, Uppers, Speed, Double Trouble, Christmas trees, Skippy, Jif, Bennies, Beans, Black Beauties, Roses, Hearts, Crosses, LA Turnaround, Addies (for Adderall) and Rittys, Rits (for Ritalin).
Prevention. A critical part of prevention is to inform your child that there is no association documented between ADHD drug abuse and increased study abilities or intelligence. The more you speak with your child about the dangers of drug use, the less likely your child will abuse drugs. If your child is prescribed ADHD drugs, monitor their use to ensure that the drugs are not being diverted to others.
XANAX and Other Drugs Used to Treat Anxiety.
Drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Halcion and Restoril are in a category of drugs called Benzodiazepines (“Benzos”) and are typically prescribed to treat patients suffering from anxiety and panic disorders. They also aid sleep and are prescribed for other reasons, e.g., Klonopin and Valium are also anti-seizure drugs. Benzos are central nervous system depressants, slowing down aspects of mental and physical health. They are highly addictive if taken over a prolonged period or in large quantities. It is important to remember that teens and young adults are more susceptible to addiction because of their developing brains.
Xanax. This is perhaps the most commonly abused Benzo and is the trade name of the prescription medication Alprazolam. Street names include Xannies/Zannies, Handlebars/Bars or Blue Footballs. Xanax bars are becoming increasingly common in Marin high schools, are 2 milligrams, shaped like a bar and divided into quarters.
Signs of abuse. These include, sleepiness, lethargy, lacking in motivation to engage in normal activities of daily life, slurred speech, monotone voice, appearing distracted, agoraphobia (not wanting to leave the house) and reclusiveness (avoiding other people). Benzos are known to slow down respiratory rates which alone can be dangerous as breathing slows. But when mixed with alcohol, another depressant (not uncommon among teens and young adults), their combined effect can lead to serious injury, coma or death.
After long term use, individuals may become even more reclusive, agoraphobic and scared of people, behaving more strangely, and have twitching eyes and a tense neck.
Slang terms. These include Candy, Downers, Downs, Chill Pills, Tranks, Tranqs, Totem Poles, Sleeping Pills, French Fries, Blues, Z-bar and Bricks.
Mixing Benzos with Alcohol. Combining Benzos with alcohol is especially dangerous. Since both substances are depressants, that can greatly relax muscles and bring the central nervous system to a crawl, which can result in unconsciousness, coma or death. A slang term for a mix of prescription drugs with alcohol is “recipe”.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug Heroin, as well as regular prescription (Rx) pain relievers such as Oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab), Codeine, Morphine, Methadone, Fentanyl and others.
Opioids are one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. and they are easy to get ahold of, readily prescribed and are very addictive - a dangerous combination. Of particular concern is that opioids can cause measurable symptoms of addiction in less than three days!
The 2014 National Survey on Drug use and Health has estimated that there were 4.3 million non-medical users of pain relievers in the U.S. in 2014, a population second only in size to marijuana users.
The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Drug overdoses today are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. - more than car crashes and gun deaths combined - and opioids are driving this epidemic. The CDC announced in December 2016 that more people died from drug overdoses in 2015 than in any other year on record and 60% of those deaths came from opioids. This is a uniquely American issue. While Americans comprise less than 5% of the world’s populace, we consume 80% of the world’s opioids and 99% of the world’s Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.
PRESCRIPTION (Rx) OPIOIDS. In 2014, more young adults died from prescription drug (mostly opioid) deaths, than overdoses from any other drug, including heroin and cocaine combined, including many more needing emergency room treatments.
Nearly a half million teens (aged 12-17 years old) used prescription painkillers non-medically for the first time in 2014. These drugs are easily accessible from family or friends’ medicine cabinets. The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994-2007.
As stated above, in the Tamalpais HS Union District, 24% of 11th grade teens surveyed used prescription pain killers or other prescription stimulants, according to the 2015-16 CHKS survey. Most teens do not believe that painkillers are dangerous, because they are prescribed by a doctor and are not illegal. The terms “pharming” or “pharm party” refer to swapping or sharing Rx drugs. The term “trail mix” or “skittles” refers to mixing various prescription drugs at pharm parties. Fortunately, pharm parties are not common in our Marin high schools.
Opioids bind to the brain’s opioid receptors. Once attached, they initiate a cascade of neurochemical activity which signals a massive influx of dopamine. The signals sent to the brain block pain, slow breathing and have a general calming and antidepressant effect.
Signs of Misuse. These include constricted, small pupils (pinprick or pinpoint in size), noticeable euphoria (feeling high), marked sedation, intermittent nodding off or loss of consciousness, respiratory depression (shallow or slow breathing), nausea, vomiting, constipation, and analgesia (feeling no pain). Withdrawal symptoms can mimic flu symptoms.
Slang terms. These include Hillbilly Heroin, Kickers, Oxy, OC, Oxycotton, Cotton or being Jammed (Oxycodone) and Jerry Rice (80mg tabs), Percs, Percodans (Percocet), Vic, Vikings, Vikes, Watson-377 (Vicodin) and Happy Pills and Big Boys.
Mixing Alcohol and Opioid Painkillers. As with Benzos, both alcohol and opioid painkillers are central nervous system depressants. When combined, these substances can have a catastrophic interplay. Concurrent use can hasten an overdose due to a synergy in respiratory depression. While alcohol alone can have harmful effects on the liver, the risk of liver damage is severe as many painkillers also contain acetaminophen.
Gateway to Heroin. Four out of five new heroin users started out by misusing prescription painkillers.
HEROIN. Although rare, heroin use unfortunately exists in Marin County and in our high schools. With over 1 million heroin users in the U.S., heroin-related deaths are skyrocketing, made possible in part by the cheap supply of heroin, easy availability and Fentanyl-infused heroin (which is 50 times more potent than heroin.) Many of these deaths are also attributable to new government manufacturing requirements that make opioid prescription pills more difficult to crush and inject into the bloodstream. These factors have made prescription drug users shift to heroin.
Heroin deaths rose 23% in 2015 and were higher than gun deaths. Over the past several years, heroin has resulted in too many tragic deaths of Marin teens and young adults.
Signs of Use. After a “fix” or after smoking heroin, a heroin user will look “stoned”. Signs of use are very small pupils, glassy looking eyes (light colored eyes can turn bright blue), difficulty in keeping eyes open (appearing as nodding off - called “goofing off”), inability to finish sentences, slurred speech, shallow breathing, scratching, excessive smoking, loose facial muscles, blood stains on clothes from using needles, bloody tissues, track marks on hands, arms and legs, long sleeves in warm weather to hide track marks.
Slang Terms. These include H, Horse, Smack, Junk, Dope, White Horse, China White, Skunk, Skag, Helldust, Brown Sugar, Thunder, Chiva and Chasing the Dragon. Kryptonite refers to marijuana with heroin.
What is most alarming is that prescription pills are sometimes being laced with fentanyl and other synthetic opiates and these counterfeit drugs are extremely deadly. (Remember, fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin - a legal dose is approximately 2 milligrams). This has been occurring since 2013-14 and there is a new and ongoing Fentanyl crisis (the first was in 2006 with fentanyl infused heroin).
Motivated by enormous profits, traffickers are exploiting high consumer demand for prescription medications by producing inexpensive, fraudulent prescription pills containing fentanyl. Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl are smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico and Canada and clandestine pill press operations also occur in the U.S., with China as the primary source. Traffickers usually purchase powdered fentanyl and pill presses from China to create counterfeit pills to supply illicit U.S drug markets. The pills are manufactured to look like Vicodin, Percocet, Xanax and other prescription pills. See https://www.dea.gov/docs/Counterfeit%20Prescription%20Pills.pdf.
COLD AND COUGH MEDICATIONS (Coricidin pills, Robitussin Cough Syrup). In October 2015, five students at Tamalpais and Drake high school overdosed in one week after taking large doses of cold and cough medicine, known as “Triple C”. When taken in large quantities, these drugs cause a high that produces hallucinations and a sense of dissociation. The primary ingredient is dextromethorphan or DXM, which can create psychotic results.
Signs of use are dilated pupils, vomiting and poor motor control. Use can result in seizures, coma and death.
Another dangerous version of cough syrup contains Codeine and Promethazine, which is prescribed, but can be abused easily. Known as “Purple Drank”, it is often mixed with soda and is attributed to the loss of at least one Marin youth.
Slang terms. DXM abuse is also referred to as Triple C, skittles or robotripping. Codeine with Robitussin is called Cody, Captain Cody, Schoolboy or Tuss.
COMMONLY ABUSED ‘HARDER DRUGS” IN MARIN HIGH SCHOOLS
According to the 2015-16 CHKS results, 10% of 11th graders in the Tam High School District reported using Ecstasy, LSD or other psychedelics at least once in their lifetime (the question was not broken out for MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly and LSD). Cocaine lifetime use was 5% of 11th graders surveyed.
MDMA, ECSTASY and MOLLY.
MDMA is perceived as benign compared to other drugs such as cocaine or hallucinogens such as LSD. It is a synthetic drug, that alters mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth and distorted sensory and time perception.
MDMA was initially popular in the nightclub scene and at all-night dance parties (“raves”). Today, the drug affects a broader range of people who more commonly call the drug Ecstasy or Molly, a relative of Ecstasy. It still is considered a “party drug” and is popular at nightclubs, outdoor music festivals, concerts, large parties and interactive, high-energy environments. For an article in the student-run Redwood High School newspaper, the Bark, on the drugs used in the club scene, including Molly, go to http://redwoodbark.org/2014/04/peace-love-unity-and-raves/.
MDMA is usually taken as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form or snort the powder. Once consumed, it takes about 15 minutes to enter the bloodstream and the brain, producing almost instant feelings of euphoria and closeness, while diminishing a user’s anxieties. The effects can last anywhere from three to six hours. Many users take a second dose as the effects of the first dose begin to fade or they take more than one pill at a time to enhance their experience.
Effect on the Brain. MDMA increases the activity of three brain chemicals: Dopamine (which causes a surge in euphoria and increased energy/activity), Norepinephrine (which increases heart rate and blood pressure) and Serotonin (which affects mood, appetite, sleep and other functions.) It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by users.
Other health effects. High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature which can result in hyperthermia. That can occasionally result in liver, kidney or heart failure or even death. When taken in overcrowded, overheated environments such as a music venue, MDMA also can lead to severe dehydration which can lead to overheating, convulsing or seizing. Finally, because MDMA promotes trust and closeness, its use can encourage unsafe sexual behavior.
Molly. After Ecstasy earned a bad reputation in the 1990’s, the drug was rebranded and Molly, with its seemingly sweet and innocent name, appeared on the scene. Slang for “molecular”, Molly refers to the supposedly “pure” crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules for about $40 per 100-milligram pill. This is a marketing ploy.
Molly users often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”), cocaine, ketamine (found in horse tranquilizers), methamphetamine, heroin, PCP or over-the-counter cough medicine, caffeine and even rat poison. These substances can be instead of MDMA or in addition to MDMA. They can be extremely dangerous because the person does not know what they are taking. They are also harmful when combined with pure MDMA. And as with other drugs, combining Molly with alcohol, marijuana or other drugs is especially risky.
Taking Molly is like playing a game of Russian Roulette. The DEA says that only 13% of the Molly seized in New York state over the last four years actually contained any MDMA and even then it often was mixed with other drugs. Molly is often manufactured in countries such as China, where the ingredients can be mixed in unsanitary places like toilet bowls and bathtubs. No one knows the truth as to how each batch of Molly is prepared.
In a six year span, emergency room visits related to the use of Ecstasy, MDMA and Molly rose by 128% among those under the age of 21. Since 2013, there has been an extensive string of Molly deaths and overdoses throughout the country. Horror stories abound of young adults taking one dose and dying almost instantaneously from Molly.
It is tragic that Molly is used amongst teens and young adults today who are simply looking for a “good” time. Molly is marketed to teens who are first-time drug users as well as rave and electronic dance music fans who may think they are getting MDMA. Molly is also popularized in rap lyrics and pop culture.
Signs of Use. Symptoms include hyperactivity, unusual confidence, jerky movements, inability to sleep, talkativeness, grinding or chattering teeth, very large pupils, sweating, thirst, lack of appetite, staring, “spittin” cotton (spit is like a cotton ball). The comedown can be depression, fear, listlessness, apathy, muscle aches, cramps and mood swings. Not everyone who uses this drug shows all of these symptoms.
Use of Lollipops, Pacifiers and Gum. As these drugs speed up activity in the central nervous system, the excess adrenaline causes users to grind their teeth and clench their jaw or their teeth to chatter. This is why users often suck on lollipops or pacifiers or chew a lot of gum when using Molly, Ecstasy or MDMA.
Although lifetime use among Tam HS District 11th grade students was at 5% in 2015-16, Cocaine recently has made a comeback in Marin high schools, especially among female students, for body image reasons. It is also prevalent on college campuses. Cocaine is an illegal powerfully addictive stimulant drug which looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder or flour to increase profits. They also mix it with with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine.
People snort cocaine powder through the nose, or they rub it into their gums. Others dissolve the powder in water and inject it into the bloodstream. Some users inject a combination of cocaine and heroin called a “speedball”. Another popular method of use is to smoke cocaine that is processed to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine”). The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are inhaled into the lungs. This form of cocaine is called “Crack”, which refers to the crackling sound of the rock as it’s heated.
Duration. Cocaine effects appear almost immediately and disappear within a few minutes to an hour. How long the effects last and how intense they are depend on the method of use. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes. People who use cocaine often take it in binges - taking the drug repeatedly within a short time, at increasingly higher doses to maintain their high.
Short-Term Effects. These include extreme happiness and energy, mental alertness, and hypersensitivity to sight, sound and touch. Cocaine use can also result in irritability and paranoia. Some people find that cocaine helps them perform simple physical and mental tasks more quickly, although others experience the opposite effect. Large amounts of cocaine can lead to bizarre, unpredictable and violent behavior.
Other Health Effects. These include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, nausea, raised body temperature and blood pressure, faster heartbeat, heart attacks, tremors and muscle twitches, plus restlessness.
Long-Term Effects. These depend on the method of use. With snorting, a loss of sense of smell results with nosebleeds, frequent runny nose and problems with swallowing. With consuming by mouth, there is severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow. Other long-term effects of cocaine include being malnourished because cocaine decreases appetite, and movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, which may occur after many years of use. In addition, people report irritability and restlessness resulting from cocaine binges, and some also experience severe paranoia, in which they lose touch with reality and have auditory hallucinations.
Overdose. An overdose can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Many people who use cocaine also drink alcohol at the same time, which is particularly risky and can lead to overdose. Others mix cocaine with heroin, another dangerous and deadly combination. Some of the most frequent and severe health consequences leading to overdose involve the heart and blood vessels, including irregular heart rhythm and heart attacks, plus nerves, including seizures and strokes.
Addiction. Repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit (an adaptation to the excess of dopamine) and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, fatigue, increased appetite, unpleasant dreams, insomnia and slowed thinking.
Slang terms. Popular nicknames for cocaine include Blow, Toot, Coke, Cola, Crack, Snow, Rock, Baserocks, Yola, Yea and A-1.
PARENTING TIPS ON PRESCRIPTION AND OTHER DRUGS
If you are concerned about drug use by your teens, the following preventative measures should be taken:
Keep track of all Rx drugs at home, especially ADHD medications, benzos and opioids.
Keep secure any Rx bentos or opioids in a locked cabinet or hidden space.
Properly dispose of unused Rx medications. All local police departments in Marin and certain pharmacies such as Jack's Drug Store in San Anselmo accept unused drugs. For a list of collection sites, see http://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/environmental-health-services/medical-waste. Central Marin Police Authority has a secure collection bin in its lobby, which is always open, at 250 Doherty Drive, Larkspur.
The DEA, together with local law enforcement agencies hold National Prescription Take Back Drug Days to facilitate a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of unused Rx drugs. The next such event is April 29, 2017.
- Consider non-prescription pain relief alternatives for your teens.
- Monitor your teen’s text messages for any references to these drugs, including their slang terms.
Stay up to greet your teens when they come home from an evening out and check their eyes for pupil dilation. (Also do so during the day if they have been out unsupervised for a while.) For a guide to do so, visit https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/can-you-tell-what-drugs-someones-on-just-by-looking-at-their-eyes-876
If you suspect your child may be using drugs, search your teens’ rooms and cars for drug paraphernalia, drugs or evidence of their use.
Have early and frequent discussions with your teen about the effects and dangers of these drugs. Use this newsletter to inform your discussions.
BTI Website. Our new website at www.betheinfluencemarin.com has a blog which contains excerpts from prior BTI newsletters. It also hosts the Parent Lists for the Tam District and San Domenico High Schools.
BTI Facebook Page. “Like” our FB page (search for "be the influence marin" and you will automatically receive notice of posts on various topics.
Recommended Reads. “Generation Rx” by Erin Marie Daly, “Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s” by David Sheff and “Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines” by Nic Sheff. We also recommend reading “The Teenage Brain” by Frances Jensen to learn why teens are so prone to addiction. An interview with her is at www.well.org/culture/teenage-brain-frances-jensen/.
Recommended Viewing. “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of An Opioid Addict” is a powerful 50-minute documentary produced by the DEA and FBI and focuses on the opioid epidemic among teens and young adults. It may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqdmWRExOkQ
Stay tuned for our next newsletter in April!
-The Be the Influence Marin Committee