Wednesday, 29 May 2013

For Parents: Drug Names/Looking for Clues

I believe that educating parents is an important step in fighting this prescription drug epidemic.  With this in mind, this entry will focus on the drugs that are available to our youth and their street names so that you can be aware. I will also discuss ways that you can try to find out as early as possible if your child is using drugs. The earlier the intervention, the more successful the outcome.

Below is a list of drugs available on PEI that I know of, but there are likely more. Thank you to the people who helped me with this. If there are other drugs that should be on here, please let me know and I will add them.

Prescription Drugs

Benzodiazepine: Benzos, Valium, Clonazepam, clams, Ativan, Xanax
Dilaudid: D's, Daryl, 8's, 4's, 2's, 1's
Hydromorph Contin: Beads, the lady, big reds, 30's, 24's, 18's, 12's, 9's, 6's, 3's
Ketamine: Special K, K
Methadone: Juice
Oxycodone: Owen, Onions, 80's, 60's, 40's, 30's, 20's, 10's, 5's
Percocet: Pickles, Peter, TEC's, numbers, A.P.O.'s
Ritalin: Rita, 20's, 16's, 10's, white ones, blue ones

Other Drugs

Heroin: Smack, Hard Stuff, Horse, Junk, Point
Cocaine: Snow, blow, powder, soft
Crack: Rocks, hard
Ecstasy: E
Hashish: Hash, black
LSD: Paper, acid
Marijuana: Weed, green, buds, grass
Mushrooms: Shrooms, zoomers
Speed: Fast

To try to figure out if your child is using drugs, you have to go looking for evidence. Please don’t wait until you see the signs on your own. By the time you start seeing such things as pills or drug paraphernalia, your youth’s addiction will already be advanced. They hide things very well and, for the most part, only get careless when the drug use is out of control (or getting there).

The first thing you can do is search your child’s room from time to time. Search drawers, under furniture, in pockets, inside DVD players (yes, inside!), in kitbags, and everywhere else. Leave no item unturned. Do not tell them you are going to do the search as this will allow them time to move stuff elsewhere. Just do it discreetly and don’t mess up their stuff! They shouldn’t even be able to tell you were in their room unless, of course, you find something and have to confront them.

If you didn’t find anything in the search, consider yourself very lucky, and go on with your day. Do not tell them that you searched the room. This will just make them upset. Continue to do random searches. If you suspect drug use, search more often. Just be aware that they may be carrying the drugs on them, which is why you may not find anything in your search.

In fairness to all the kids out there who are not doing drugs, keep your search to just drugs. It would be unfair to read their diaries, journals, letters, etc. unless you had reason to suspect drug use (or that they may be in harm's way for another reason). If you stumble across things that are not drug-related but still worrisome, use that as an opportunity to talk to your child about the issue. Don't tell them what prompted the talk. Just talk.

You may feel like you are violating your child’s privacy and that feels wrong. I understand. I used to feel that way too (before my world came crashing down). Just remember that you are doing it out of love and responsibility to keep them safe. I can tell you with complete certainty that the fearful feeling of watching your child caught up in addiction is so much worse (indescribable, really) than feeling a little bit of guilt from violating their privacy!

If you do find a pill or another type of drug in your child’s room and don’t know what it is, you can do the following to try to figure it out:

1.       You can try finding it on this RCMP Drug Identification Chart.

2.      Visit this Canadian Drug Fact Sheet site to learn more about the drug(s). In some cases, a physical description of the drug is included with the other information.

3.     Do a Google image search of each of the drugs listed. You may find a pill that looks like the one you found. Here is the link to the Google toolbar.

4.      If you can’t find it online, take the pill to your local pharmacist and ask them. They should be able to provide answers for you.

You should also monitor your youth’s cell phone activity. Of course, they may delete their text messages as they go along but you can request a log of phone activity from your cell phone provider if need be. I would only do this if you have good reason to suspect drug use. Again, your child does not have to know any of this. Telling them would only alert them so that they can delete anything incriminating or use another method for their transactions.

You should also be friends with your child on Facebook (and follow them on other social media sites that they use) whether you suspect drug use or not. This was a must for our children if they wanted Facebook. They knew that if they deleted me as a friend, they would lose access to Facebook. The same goes for other social media. I’ve never been deleted and have been able to monitor their online activity.  If your child is using drugs, you may find clues on their social media sites. For instance, your child may like the “Marijuana Party of Canada” or they may post a photo of a marijuana leaf on Facebook. These are red flags that your child could possibly be involved in a drug culture.

Please also check here to see if your child is showing signs of drug use.

These are just a few examples of things that you can do to keep your child safe. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be on top of this. If your child is using drugs, the earlier they get into treatment, the better the outcome will be. If they are not using drugs, that is wonderful.