Drugs and Teens

By: Kelly Sparks
By: Kelly Sparks

“I came upon ecstasy when I went to a rave with friends.”

It’s a common theme facing young people today.

“I knew kids who were sophomores doing cocaine.”

“Michael” as we’ll call him was an 18 year-old senior in high school when he first began using drugs.

“You knew who did what and where you could get stuff.”

“Michael” doesn’t want to reveal his identity because he’s parents still don’t know he used drugs.

“You can get a roll that’ll be mixed with heroin, coke, and bunch of other stuff that’s mixed together to throw around."

Heroin, cocaine, oxycontin, and ecstasy these are just some of the drugs your kids are facing.

Check out these statistics from an annual survey of teenagers in our area.
This is perceived availability of drugs like cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.

  • 7th grade: seven percent
  • 8th grade: 12 percent
  • 9th grade: 21 percent
  • 10th grade: 29 percent
  • 11th grade: 35 percent
  • 12th grade: 47 percent

Experts say an adolescent experimenting with drugs is common, and unfortunately those teenagers usually don’t see the link between their actions today and consequences tomorrow.

Schools in our area do have strict drug policies in place but that doesn’t seem to stop kids in our area from using them.

“Basically, we’ve had some violations this year, it’s not unusual,” Franklin-Simpson Superintendent Jim Flynn said.

Experts say there are many signs to drug abuse physically and emotionally. Such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Repeated health complaints
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression

If you think your child needs help, here are some recovery places in Bowling Green:

Park Place Recovery Center
822 Woodway Drive
(270) 842-2546

The Bridge
1745 Logsdon Road
(270) 777-1094

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Warning Signs of Drug Abuse



  • Altered perceptions
  • Red eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced concentration and coordination
  • Euphoria

Look For

  • Rolling papers
  • Pipes
  • Dried plant material
  • Odor of burnt hemp rope
  • Roach clips


  • Panic reaction
  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Hampered judgment
  • Accelerated heartbeat, possibly increased blood pressure

(Coke, crack)


  • Euphoria followed by depression
  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Look For

  • Glass vials
  • Glass pipe
  • White powder
  • Razor blades
  • Syringes
  • Needle marks


  • Nasal problems
  • Addiction
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Lung damage
  • Severe depression
  • Paranoia

(Acid, LSD, PCP, Ecstasy, mushrooms)


  • Altered mood and perceptions
  • Focus on detain
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Nausea
  • Synaesthesia (ex: smell colors, see sounds)

Look For

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • "Microdots"
  • Blotter squares


  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Emotional instability
  • Violent behavior (with PCP)

(Gasoline, aerosols, glue, nitrates)


  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of coordination and control
  • Drowsiness

Look For

  • Odor of substance on clothing and breath


  • Unconsciousness
  • Suffocation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Damage to brain and central nervous system
  • Sudden death

(Heroin, Demerol, morphine, Codeine)


  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constricted pupils

Look For

  • Syringes
  • Spoons
  • Needles
  • Needle marks on arms


  • Addiction
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Contamination from non-sterile needles (hepatitis, AIDS)
  • Accidental overdose

(Amphetamines, caffeine, nicotine, cocaine)


  • Alertness
  • Talkativeness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Wakefulness
  • Loss of weight
  • Mood elevation
  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity

Look For

  • Pills and capsules


  • Fatigue leading to exhaustion
  • Aggressiveness
  • Severe anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Possible hallucinations
  • Addiction

(Barbituates, sedatives, tranquilizers, alcohol)


  • Depressed breathing and heartbeat
  • Intoxication
  • Drowsiness
  • Longer periods of sleep
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Confused behavior

Look For

  • Capsules and pills


  • Possible overdose, especially in combination w/ alcohol
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Addiction
  • Withdrawal and overdose require medical treatment

Source: http://www.pathwaysprogram.org/signs.html (The Pathways Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center Web site) contributed to this report

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