Could your child be taking drugs

Parents Drug Information

You probably think that that drugs and alcohol use or abuse is a far off threat for your
pre-teen. But the truth is that Now is the time to become proactive. More and more young
people are experimenting with drugs and alcohol, some even before they hit their teens.

There are three major trends in South Africa regarding the use of drugs:
The percentage of adolescents who experiment with drugs grows every year
Children start taking drugs at a younger age every year
Children are using more dangerous and addictive drugs, such as Cocaine,
Tik(crystal methamphetamine) and heroin.
Did you know that 20% of addicts start using drugs before the age of 13, including
substances like tobacco and alcohol.

Who is at risk?
Children with low self-esteem and those who are easily influenced by peers are more likely to
try drugs, however peer pressure is surprisingly low on the list of motivators for children taking
The main motivators according to latest trends are stress and the desire to be cool, “grown-up” and achieve social prestige. Worldwide more males than females use drugs, but the female percentages are rising every year. At least half of the boys in our country will try drugs before they leave school. A young person whose friends use drugs is more likely to be a drug user. The easier it is for young people to get access to drugs, the more likely they are to use them. Parenting style and parental substance abuse are also associated with drug use among young people. The effect of drugs
One of the many negative effects of drug use is delayed or retarded psychological and emotional
development. A teenager who uses drugs will fail to progress through the necessary stages towards
emotional maturity. A 22-year-old who started using drugs at 13, for example, will have the
emotional skills of a 13-year-old. and may never catch up.
Another devastating effect of drug abuse is the negative impact on family relationships, and then
there are the health risks. Apart from the longer-term consequences of drug abuse such as dropping
out of school, there are the immediate consequences of high-risk behaviour such as promiscuity and
reckless driving.
What you can do?
By the time a child is 3, he can understand the difference between poison, medicine and food.
Between 6 and 12 years of age, parents can read children’s books about drugs and addiction to their
children and begin discussing these topics.
It is especially important to explain the dangers of inhalants at an early age, because some children start using substances like glue, benzene or hair spray as young as 6 years of age. By 12 years children should be familiar with the appearance, effects and dangers of various kinds of drugs, as well as the legal consequences for possessing or selling them. Parents should also educate themselves about the types of drugs out there and their effects, as well as facilitating healthy discussion about alcohol and tobacco use, and the way these substances are marketed and used socially. Avoid an authoritarian approach such as lecturing, as this could lead to a breakdown in communication. Be honest and open about your own use of alcohol and the role it plays in your life. Parents have an important role to play in modelling responsible behaviour. But raising children to be drug-free has to do with much more than simply giving them information and monitoring their activities. The root cause of many behavioural problems, including substance abuse, is not lack of discipline, but lack of connection. Children who lack a close relationship with at least one loving parent are at risk for substance abuse, no matter how much discipline is imposed on them. Likewise, children who have a close relationship with a loving parent are more likely to resist drugs. fact sheet - substance use by South African adolescents
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Group, Medical Research Council  Increased risk for injury and death due to interpersonal violence, motor vehicle accidents,  Increased probability of engaging in high risk sexual behaviours, placing the user at risk for both unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.  Increased risk for suicidal ideation and behaviour.  Increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including conduct, mood, and anxiety disorders. Social consequences
 Adolescent substance use has been associated with academic difficulties, declining grades, absenteeism, truancy, and school drop-out.  Substance use during adolescence has also been associated with involvement in crime and  Adolescent AOD use may lead to deteriorations in psycho-social functioning, characterised by impaired psychological and social development, and poor peer and family relationships. Is your child on drugs? What to look out for.
 Negative changes in schoolwork, missing school, or declining grades.  Increased secrecy about possessions or activities.  Use of incense, room deodorant or perfume to hide smoke or chemical odors.  Subtle changes in conversations with friends (more secretive, using “coded” language).  New friends (often sudden change).  Change in clothing choices — new fascination with clothes that highlight drug use.  Increase in borrowing money.  Evidence of drug paraphernalia, such as pipes, rolling papers (Rizlas).  Evidence of inhaling products and accessories, such as hair spray, nail polish, correction fluid, paper bags and rags, and common household products.  Bottles of eye drops, which may be used to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils.  New use of mouthwash or breath mints to cover up the smell of alcohol, marijuana or  Missing prescription drugs — especially narcotics and mood stabilizers. Drug tests
Testing kids for drugs
Drugs are a present reality and to effectively fight them often demands extreme measures. One way
to check whether your child has used drugs is to do a simple urine drug test. This can be done in the
privacy of your home and there are a lot of different tests on the market. Anything from testing for
specific drug types like Nicotine (cigarettes), alcohol and Dagga to a single test which screens for six
of the most commonly abused drugs:
 Amphetamines (Tik)  Benzodiazepines (date rape drug)  Cocaine (Crack)  Ecstasy (Ecstacy)  Opiates (Heroin, morphine, pethidine, Nyaope, Sugars)  Marijuana (Dagga) find out for the first time that your child is on drugs
 Don't act in anger.  Don't blame your child's friends or other persons for your child's problems. He made his own  Don't at first try to find out where he got the drugs. Concentrate on the fact that he is in trouble and needs assistance. Later you can try to discover the source. (make sure to find out what substance/s s/he is using)  Don't accept promises to stop.  Don't preach, judge, criticise, blame, punish or throw him out of the house.  Don't try to solve his problems for him (but assist in the process of seeking help)  Don't demand that he stop because you say so.  Don't increase his feelings of guilt with the age old game of "How could you have done this to me!" It will only make matters worse.  Don't lapse into self-pity.  Don't launch into lectures on the melodramatic dangers of drugs and of hell fire. It will have  Don't say he doesn't deserve treatment because his condition is self-inflicted. Many other conditions exist which are also self-inflicted for which treatment is given. For example, lung cancer as a result of smoking, a broken bone after having fallen on a cliff whilst mountaineering, etc.  Don't take threats to commit suicide, lightly. Listen to him/her, be near him, stay with him. Assess the danger. How were you told about his wish to end his life? Did any ideas or reasons of depression surface? Inform a doctor or therapist, get further advice. Continue to be by him or near him if possible, until the feeling lifts. Feelings do change. If the threat remains serious, get help. Make sure there are no implements around with which he could injure himself eg. razor blades, tablets, rope, gun, etc. The fact that you spend time with him is proof of his value to you. Be there for him, but not because you are feeling guilty. It was not your choice. He has to take responsibility for his choices, but you can assist and support.  If he goes through withdrawal symptoms you may need to be prepared. Know what to expect. Ask the doctor. Get the support of your close family and minister/pastor
SA drug statistics
 Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm (CDA-2009)  15% of South Africa's population have a drug problem (CDA).  Drug abuse is costing South Africa R20-billion a year and could pose a bigger threat to the country's future than the Aids pandemic.  According to SAPS figures, 60 percent of crimes nationally were related to substance abuse. In the Western Cape, the figure was closer to 80 percent. The perpetrators of these crimes are either under the influence of substances, or trying to secure money for their next fix.  In 2004, government disbanded the SA Narcotics Bureau (SANAB), a dedicated drug-fighting unit within the SAPS that had achieved some notable successes. Since its closure, drug-related crimes have increased exponentially - in fact by 30 percent.  The recently-released United Nations World Drug Report had named South Africa as one of  The abuse of alcohol and usage of dagga has lead to the country to being one of the top ten narcotics and alcohol abusers in the world.  One Rand in four in circulation in SA is linked to the substance abuse problem - 2009 (CDA-  Alcohol is the primary drug of abuse in SA.  It’s responsible for nearly half of all motor accidents.  Over 30% of our population have an alcohol problem or are at risk of having one.  Alcohol affects 17.5 million South Africans.  Studies show that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely  10 million of South Africans who consume alcohol drank the equivalent of 196 six-packs of beer or 62 bottles of spirits which is about 20.1 litres of pure alcohol each person per year.  SA has an estimated 182 000 illegal shebeens.  122 out of every 1000 Grade 1 pupils in the Northern Cape town of De Aar have foetal alcohol syndrome - the highest incidence of the syndrome in one population anywhere in the world.  In 2008 SANCA reported an increase in 19-20 year old alcoholics. (Cathy De vos, SANCA)  18-22 years olds are the group of heaviest alcohol abuse. (The Lancet medical journal, 2009)  35% of High schools kids are problem drinkers who drink at least 9 units spirits, 1 liter wine or 2 liters of beer. (Rapport, 11.05.2008)  According to research done in May 2008, 20% of 14 year old boys and nearly half of 17 year old boys drank in the previous month. Girls was a bit lower with 18% of 14 year olds and 35% of 17 year olds in the same period. (CDA)  The use of dagga has increased by 20% in two years (CDA-2009)  In 2006 2.52 million people used dagga and this increased to 3.2 million in 2008 (CDA)  South Africans use double the amount of Dagga, than the average world-wide figure.  Over R3,5 billion is spent annually by South Africans to purchase dagga.  1500 metric tons of Dagga is used annually.  South Africans spend an estimated R3560 million on dagga per year.  In 2007 there was a clear increase in patients under 20 years, who came for treatment for  A 2007 report said that Gauteng's youngest drug dealer was a 8 year old boy from Douglasdale. (Gauteng Drug awareness team) Rehabilitation
 Between 2% and 6% of those admitted to drug rehabilitation centres are hooked on  “Most drug rehabilitation centers have a success rate of less than 3%.” Teenagers
 School kids who use alcohol or drugs are 3 times more involved with violent crimes. (CDA)  From 1992 - 95 the use of drugs among teenagers increased by 600%. That figure is still  The starting age of abuse is twelve and younger, and drug fealers are targeting schools  Studies show that the average age of drug dependency in South Africa to be 12 years old,  One in two schoolchildren admits to having experimented with drugs.  1 in 2 kids in the average SA home addicted to drugs or alcohol, or run the risk of becoming.  Children who have one alcoholic parent have a 60% chance of becoming one. This percentage rises to 80% if both parents are alcoholics. (Lig, 04.2008)  50% of Grade 11 learners admitted that they have used alcohol in the last year. (Lig,  31% of school learners drink socially. (CDA, 2008)  60% of Grade 8-11 learners in Cape schools that misuse alcohol had to repeat their grade.  By the age of 18 more than 60% of teenagers has become drunk. 30% had used school time or work time to drink. (The Lancet medical journal, 2009)  In 2007 there was a clear increase in patients under 20 years, who came for treatment for  35% of High schools kids are problem drinkers who drink at least 9 units spirits, 1 liter wine or 2 liters of beer. (Rapport, 11.05.2008)  In 2008 it was reported that 12 years before 2% of patients in rehab centers were under 20 years of age. In 2008 the number increased to 20%. Most were addicted to tik (meth), dagga and heroin. (MRC)  According to research done in May 2008, 20% of 14 year old boys and nearly half of 17 year old boys drank in the previous month. Girls was a bit lower with 18% of 14 year olds and 35% of 17 year olds in the same period. (CDA) Drug syndicates
 In 1995 there were approximately 125 drug syndicates in South Africa, now there are 438. Types of Drugs

Listed below are some of the most common types of drugs/substances abused.
With the unending number of drugs being manufactured in makeshift "street" laboratories everyday, it is impossible to list them all.
Any number of intoxicating beverages, including beer, wine, whiskey, gin, vodka,
etc. Primary effect is as a sedative.

Club Drugs
This term refers to an influx of designer drugs including MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB,
Rohypnol (Ruffies), Clarity, and Ketamine (Special K). Because most of these drugs are colorless, flavorless, and odorless, they can be added to beverages undetected. All effect the central nervous system and act as stimulant and hallucinogen.
Cocaine (Powder)
Cocaine is one of the most powerful stimulants found in nature. Cocaine is derived
from Coca plant leaves. The leaves are treated with salt and gasoline and allowed to sit. The liquid is later drained and refined into cocaine base. Cocaine base can be smoked but typically is refined into a powder form. Powder cocaine (HCL) is inhaled into the nasal passages or can be dissolved in water and injected into the body via a syringe.
Crack Cocaine

Powder cocaine cannot be smoked unless chemically altered--thus crack cocaine. A chemically altered form of powder cocaine that is a hard, rock-like substance that is easy to handle and conceal. Crack cocaine is smokeable and creates an intense, immediate high. Because crack cocaine is nearly pure cocaine, doses are smaller and cheaper to obtain than cocaine. Crack cocaine can be instantly addictive. Depressants/Sedative/Hypnotics
These drugs interact with the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to depress cognitive activities. They include sedatives (used to make a person calm or drowsy) and tranquilizers (intended to reduce tension and anxiety). Sometimes called "downers" or "benzos" (short for benzodiazepine) these drugs come in tablet, capsule or liquid form. Some drugs in this category are: Xanax, Valium, Halcion, Librium, Ativan, Klonopin, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Seconal, Phenobarbital, Amytal, and Haldol.
Hashish is produced from the THC-rich secretions of the Cannabis plant (marijuana
plant). Hashish is the resinous substance taken from the tops of female plants, which contains the highest concentration of THC. "Hash" is usually sold in balls or cakes. Most commonly used by smoking (pipe, bong) or ingesting (eating foods containing hash).

Common inhalants include some types of model cement, cooking sprays, hair
spray, deodorant, liquid paper, aerosol sprays, paint, paint thinner, gasoline, and solvents. Inhalants are used by spraying or pouring the substance on a rag and the vapors (fumes) inhaled. This induces a short-lived, light-headed euphoric state in the abuser. Heroin, a semi-synthetic opium, is derived from morphine. Heroin is smoked, inhaled, or injected by the abuser.
LSD is a synthetic psychotropic, or mind-altering, drug. Due to its extremely high
potency, LSD users may be "high" anywhere from 4-14 hours on one dose. LSD is usually sold in the following forms: liquid (small, glass vials); thin squares of gelatin ("hits"), referred to as "windowpane"; small square pieces of paper--commonly referred to as "blotter" acid.
Next to tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is the most popular chemical substance chosen for regular use. Marijuana comes from the Hemp plant and its content of THC found in the leaves and flowering shoots of the plant. Most commonly used by smoking (joint, pipe, bong) or ingestion (eating foods containing marijuana, example-brownies). Marijuana effects the central nervous system and gives the user a false sense of euphoria, relaxation, and increased visual, auditory, and taste perceptions. In actuality, the marijuana diminishes coordination, visual tracking,
and loss of energy. Some users experience paranoia, delirium, and hallucinations.
Methamphetamines (Crystal Meth) TIK
Methamphetamines are highly addictive man-made chemical stimulants. The street versions of these compounds are cooked up in clandestine "kitchens" using a variety of hazardous and volatile chemicals. These stimulants can be inhaled, smoked, and injected by the abuser.
Psilocybin or "magic" mushrooms are found in a variety of environments and, like Peyote, produce similar effects as LSD but not quite to the same degree. The mushrooms are usually ingested but may be dried and smoked.
Though commonly used to refer to all drugs---narcotics are those drugs which are derived from opium (derivatives or synthetics). Commonly encountered narcotics include: Opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, Dilaudid, Demerol, Percodan, methadone, and Darvon. The most powerful prescription painkillers are opioids, which are made to react on the nervous system the same way as opium, morphine (a powerful painkiller that is highly addictive) or heroin. These medications include include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and mepreridine. The common brand names are Oxycontin, Percocet,
Roxicet, Roxiprin, Vicodin, Dilaudid,


Opium is harvest from unripe seed pods of the Poppy plant. Opium can either be injected in its raw form (gum-like) or smoked. PCP (Angel Dust) Phencyclidine, commonly referred to as PCP or Angel Dust, is considered to be the most unpredictable drug on the street because of its effect of the user. PCP can be found in liquid (most toxic), gum, or powdered form. Liquid PCP is often applied to cigarettes as a means of ingestion. In powder form, PCP is commonly mixed with marijuana and smoked. PCP is often masqueraded as LSD or THC. The gum form of PCP may vary in color from a light tan to a dark brown/black. [More] [Back To Top]
Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug abuse is a modern-day plague with estimates of up to a million
South Africans have or currently abuse prescription medications. Many prescription drug addicts legitimize their use because of "doctor's orders". It is not uncommon for these abusers to exhibit drug seeking behaviors--going to several doctors, emergency rooms, and/or clinics reporting lost or stolen prescriptions, increased pain, etc in an effort to obtain their drug. For those addicts in the medical field or with access to prescription medications, stealing medications or self-prescribing medications is not uncommon. Many prescription addicts use multiple pharmacies to hide the amount and frequency of their use. Signs and symptoms of prescription addiction vary due to the different types of medications (hypnotic, sedative, amphetamine, etc). The most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain killers, depressants, stimulants, and antidepressants.

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