Sara Haley is a single stay-at-home mom to her daughter, and spends her time as a freelance writer. She is the writer for Omaha Moms and Happy Apping. She also writes for companies such as eHow and Bukisa. Her website can be found at www.sarakhaley.com
You hear more and more stories on the news about teenagers using everyday household items to get high. The statistics are staggering, and even pharmacy and department stores now need to put common cold and flu medications behind the counter to keep teenagers from purchasing them to use for inexpensive highs.
There are a number of products in your household RIGHT NOW that you probably never gave a second thought to as a possible threat for your teenage child to use for an accessible high. Here are just a few of them:
Dextromethorphan, otherwise known as DXM, is an ingredient found in over-the-counter cold medicines that acts as a cough suppressant. When taken as directed, it is effective in helping relieve the cough symptoms associated with the cold. However, these 15 to 30mg doses of DXM are being abused with 100-600mg doses by adolescents in order to obtain a high associated with euphoria, hallucinations, and even a loss of motor coordination.
Common forms of DXM are found in over 100 over-the-counter medications, but are typically paired with Robitussin and Coricidin. The US Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control reports that in 2008, there were nearly 8,000 emergency room visits attributed to abuse of dextromethorphan. It is not unusual for a teenager to drink an entire bottle to experience the high of DXM.
You might not think anything of that can of whipped cream, but the nitrous oxide used in pressurized whipped cream containers can be a dangerous high for teenagers. Nitrous oxide, most commonly known as “laughing gas” in the dentist’s chair, is contained within cans and can be purchased individually. This high is attainable for most teenagers, and can cause a short-term dissociative high for those who utilize them.
Many office supply stores sell a simple can of pressurized spray commonly referred to as keyboard dusters. Instead of being used for its intended purposes, many teenagers inhale the substance for an intended high. The danger of this is the sporadic nature of this inhalant. Some people have a euphoric experience, while others get dizzy and experience an extremely rapid heartbeat. Others can suffer from death, even after their first use, which makes this such a concerning source for a cheap high.
YOUR SPICE CABINET
As crazy as it may sound, you very possibly have a spice in your spice cabinet that your teenager could use to get high. The culprit? Nutmeg. Because nutmeg contains myristicin, it can cause hallucinations and paranoia. All it takes is about five teaspoons of the spice (which is typically mixed in a drink and consumed) and a few hours, and the effect will start to kick in. Although it is used to get high, it typically causes a number of gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which are generally unpleasant enough to keep teenagers from trying it a second time.
SPRAY PAINTS & MARKERS
There are a number of inhalants that can be found around the home, but two more accessible options are spray paints and markers. These two items in particular contain a number of toxins that, when inhaled through the nose, can cause a temporary high. But what makes them so dangerous is that these toxins block oxygen from getting to the brain, which can cause numerous long-term consequences, including the loss of brain cells, hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), and cardiac arrest. The worst of them all? Death. Inhaling the toxic fumes of markers and spray paints can cause long-term effects to one’s brain and memory. Long-term “huffers,” as consistent users are coined, can experience life-long problems with continual use.
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