Weird Ways Teens Try to Get High

What's this?Most parents fear their children trying alcohol, picking up smoking, or, worse, using an illicit drug. But, it doesn’t stop there. Teens are getting more and more creative in their efforts to get high. Parents should be aware of these trends:

Bath Salts

Despite the name, the new drug called “bath salts,” has nothing to do with a relaxing way to get clean. Their innocent name incorrectly leads teens to the assumption that bath salts are a “safe” drug, but these designer drugs have resulted in thousands of calls to poison centers across the United States. Among the many street names for bath salts are “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “Bliss.” Street chemists who make bath salts keep creating new combinations at home and in illicit labs, which make it difficult for law enforcement to enforce bans on the substances. The “bath salts” have been found to contain MDPV, a stimulant which cannot be smelled by detection dogs and will not be found in typical urinalysis. The drugs, which users smoke, snort or inject, can cause agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, increased pulse, high blood pressure, and suicidal thinking/behavior.

Drinking Hand Sanitizer

Most formulas of hand sanitizer contain 62% ethyl alcohol, and using salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer yields a potent 120-proof shot. Teens are drinking the over-the-counter cleanser as a cheap and easily accessed drug. With the high concentrations of alcohol, it would only take a few drinks for a teen to develop alcohol poisoning.


Since this generation seems addicted to technology, it shouldn’t be surprising that teens are trying to get high online. “I-dosing” attempts to alter consciousness with sound. The Internet craze has teens listening to downloadable MP3s that are said to mimic different sensations you can feel when taking drugs such as Ecstasy or marijuana. Anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes long, the tracks consist of binaural beats, in which the sound waves played into the right ear differ from the sound waves played in the left ear. When you listen to these sounds with stereo headphones, the listener senses the difference between the two frequencies as another beat that sounds like it’s coming from inside your head. Most scientists do not believe that the effects described are real and describe i-dosing as harmless. Some parents remain concerned that it could lead teens to want to try other drugs.

Purple Drank

Popularized in the late nineties rap scene, “purple drank” has been abused by teens for decades. It is easy to make at home with readily available ingredients. By adding cough syrup with codeine (such as Robitussin DM) to a soft drink and candy (usually Sprite and Jolly Ranchers), tweens and teens create what they consider a quick remedy for tension, anxiety, and aggression. In large doses, cough suppressants cause hallucinations, drowsiness, inability to concentrate, slowed physical activity, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and slowed breathing. If enough is consumed, it can be lethal.

Vodka Eyeballing

This sounds as disgusting as it truly is. Instead of throwing back a shot, teens hold a bottle of vodka to their eye and pour the liquid directly into the eye. Because the eye is laden with blood vessels, the alcohol is quickly absorbed, resulting in a quick buzz. Many teens like this method because they feel the results quicker and they can’t be caught with the smell of alcohol on their breath. Unfortunately, there are two extreme consequences: (1) since the alcohol is not processed through the liver and most vodkas are between 40 and 50 percent alcohol, teens are even more likely to develop alcohol poisoning; and (2) the vodka can scar and burn the cornea, and even cause blindness.

Choking Game

The choking game is no game at all and can have serious consequences for your teen. It’s a dangerous practice of tweens and teens in which they self-strangulate in order to achieve a brief high. Adolescents cut off the flow of blood to the brain by strangling themselves with a belt, rope, scarves or their bare hands. When they release the pressure, blood that was blocked up floods the brain all at once, which sets off a warm, tingly, floating sensation. Because there is never a way to know the exact time to let go, many participants pass out and some have actually hung themselves. Ironically, many teens consider this a safe way to get high without using drugs.

Final Thoughts…

Parents are not safe with just a quick “say no to drugs” speech. The information we have provided demonstrate that parents need to stay up to date with teen trends and keep the lines of communication with their teens open so that they don’t get involved in a wide variety of dangerous ideas.

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