May/June 2017 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health

Trend Corner:


5 Minnesota Deaths Linked To Drug 10K Times Stronger Than Morphine

By Jeff Wagner


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —Authorities are warning the public after five fatal overdoses in Minnesota were traced to a drug used to tranquilize large animals. Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker and his office has linked deaths to the synthetic opioid Carfentanil.

The drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that killed Prince.

Baker says the drug, which is often disguised as heroin on the streets, is typically used to tranquilize large animals. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in humans, and an amount as small as a couple grains of salt can kill a person.

The presence of Carfentanil was found in those five cases, and Baker says four to five more deaths may also be connected to the drug.

Of the five confirmed carfentanil-related deaths, all were adults between the ages of 23 and 43.

Investigators are working to find the source of this drug locally, but they believe it was purchased by drug dealer on the internet and possibly from China.

In light of the increase in opioid overdoses in Minnesota and throughout the county, authorities are urging people to purchase the opioid antidote Naloxone.


“Dripping” is the Latest E-Cig Craze Popular with Teens

Issue of 3rd Millennium Classrooms

Teenagers are always first in line when it comes to finding new fads, so it’s no

Surprise they’ve discovered a new way to smoke electronic cigarettes. “Dripping” is a way of creating dense clouds of vapor. Teens like it for the fun visual effect it produces and many said it also provides a more flavorful experience.

When you inhale a regular electronic cigarette, vapor is created as the e-cigarette liquid is pulled through a heated coil for you to then “smoke.” Dripping, on the other hand, entails dropping the e-liquid onto the hot coil directly. This creates a thicker cloud of vapor for the user to then inhale.

Studies done by Pediatrics has recently revealed that at least a quarter of teens who use e-cigarettes have tried this new technique, but the potential health risks of dripping are still unknown. Given that 1 in 4 high school e-cigarette users in the Pediatrics study report dripping, future safety studies should focus on the toxicities of hot vapors produced by exposure of e-liquids to high temperatures, as with dripping. There is also a critical need for regulatory efforts that consider restrictions on the e-cigarette device so it cannot be easily manipulated for behaviors such as dripping.

What a Parent Needs to Know About Teenage Drug Use During Summer Months

Listen up parents! Ready for some shocking truth to come your way? I’m sure it’s no real surprise that teenage use of drugs during the summer months increases.  After all, its summer break and you probably recall your own teenage parties and memories of crazy youth.

To a greater or lesser extent, you most likely have some sort of plan or strategy to keep your kids active in positive activities and supervised. Perhaps camps, lessons, ensuring another parent is supervising during any sleepovers, curfews, etc. But once those things are in place, is that where your plans end and you get back to your job, errands and the rest of the “To Do List”? If so, it may be wise to take a closer look at the actual statistics during summer months and once armed with the information, you may want to add a couple of additional steps to the drug prevention list in your household.

The Hard Facts

According the U.S. Health Officials, first-time smoking of cigarettes and marijuana and drinking of alcohol among young adults are highest during the summer. Yes, we have covered that. However, let’s take a look at actual numbers, shall we? The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration interviewed more than 230,000 young adults from 2002 to 2012. The findings? On an average June or July day, more than 5,000 teenager smoke cigarettes for the first time, compared to about 3,000- 4,000 in the other months. In addition to this, more than 11,000 teens try alcohol for the first time during the summer, while first-time alcohol use during the rest of the year is about 5,000-8,000. In addition to first-time use of alcohol and cigarettes, other drugs like marijuana, hallucinogens and inhalants increase during the summer months as well.

What Can a Parent Do?

It’s a tough reality that once a teenager has tried smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and trying other forms of drugs, their chances of repeated use increase. And let’s not forget that some of these are gate-way drugs, opening the door to trying and using harder street drugs.

Experts recommend taking the following steps with your teenagers:

  1. Keep them busy with productive activities to cut down on boredom and give them something to do. Also, it can be additionally helpful to set a goal within the activities that has worth in the eyes of your teenager. If they are taking a class, involved in a sport, or in any way active in something that interests them and contains a goal they wish to reach, they are less likely to risk throwing it away by taking part in drugs.
  2. Ensure adequate supervision as much as possible. Perhaps your teenager is at an age where they no longer require a 24 hour babysitter, but they can be made to check in regularly and to not be left somewhere for hours at a time. The longer a teenager is left alone, the longer they have to try a drug without worrying about being caught. It’s also important to take note of who is doing the supervision. For example, if they are being watched over by the parent of one of their friends, have you met the parent(s)? Not all adults are equal in their level of responsibility and care for their children. Ensure you take the additional step of meeting the parents that may be watching your teen, not just in the summer, but all year round.
  3. Educate your child. You may very well be told by your teenage daughter or son that they know drugs are bad and they don’t need to talk about it. Yet, sitting them down and looking at statistics and articles on drugs and asking questions to ensure their understanding on how drugs can negatively affect a person’s life is well worth the time invested. Often enough, a reminder can go a long way and if your teen has the idea that they may drink alcohol or try drugs for the first time in the near future, it may just steer them back onto the right path.
  4. Come up with a rewards and penalties system. Inform them of what the consequences will be, possibly in terms of loss of privileges, if they do try drugs and alcohol. However, set up a system where the penalties will be less if they ever come clean on any alcohol or drug use. This ensures that you keep it safe enough for your teenager to trust that they can always talk to you about the subject and get help and guidance when needed. Establish a rewards system where they will earn something of value to them if they say no to drugs and continue to do so despite any possible peer pressure.

Additional Help

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Teens Summer Drug use Statistics:

According to data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:

  • Summer is the Riskiest Time of the Year for Teens.
  • Many parents don’t know that new teen marijuana use spikes in the summer months. Marijuana is riskier than many parents think – in fact, more teens are in treatment for marijuana than for all other illicit drugs combined.
  • More teens smoked marijuana for the first time in June and July than any other months of the year, and nearly 40% of teens who first tried marijuana did so during May through August. Each day in June and July, approximately 5,800 teens try marijuana for the first time.
  • The number of new underage drinkers and cigarette smokers also jumps during the summer months.

So why the increase of drug use during the summer? The increase in new drug use is likely due to teens having more unsupervised time in the summer. Research shows that kids with unsupervised time are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.