Current trends in teen drug abuse


Parents who are concerned about their teen’s safety and well being will want to be aware of trends in drug use that have been rising in recent years. As in the past, substances such as alcohol and marijuana continue to be popular choices. However, other options have also been gaining popularity in recent years that moms and dads may want to know about.

Huffing dust off

Dust-off is a cleaner intended to remove dust particles from a computer, such as those that build up between keys. Though inhaling this product is certainly not a new occurrence, instances of its use among young people has been growing in recent years. The effects of the drug can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Some adolescents enjoy using the drug because they don’t have a waiting period to experience its effects. However, there are a number of dangers associated with such use, including poor coordination, nosebleeds, nausea and more.

While the majority of states nationwide do not allow the sale of this product to minors, many teens are able to access it in the home. Unfortunately, other inhalants have also risen in popularity, including shoe polish, glue and solvents. While the appeal of such substances to teens is often that they are more readily available to them, there are indeed a number of health risks associated with such misuse.


Prescription drug abuse is also increasing at an alarming rate amongst teens. Many are taking painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. These can be taken from a parent’s medicine cabinet in the home if it is not properly secured. Other substances such as Valium, Percocets, Xanax and other prescription medications are also used and abused by teens.Many adolescents take the pills with alcohol, which can lead to further possible health complications.

Products containing alcohol

Some teens actually ingest products with alcohol not intended for consumption. For instance, adolescents could attempt to drink alcohol that comes from alcohol sanitizer. This is dangerous, as alcohol makes up more than half of the content of this product.


Parents often have nutmeg in the spice pantry, as this is commonly used in baking. Yet young people could be seeking out the substance because it contains a natural ingredient that can lead to euphoria or hallucinations if nutmeg is ingested in large amounts. There are also a number of methods of ingesting the drug, including mixing it in water and smoking it. Many adolescents have been rushed to the hospital due to misuse of nutmeg including the toxicity that can result from using too much.

Bath salts

Manufacturers of these synthetic, amphetamine-like drugs are constantly attempting to find means of dodging the changing legality that makes parts of these drugs illegal. A number of young drug users are now turning to the internet to purchase these drugs — which have been known to manifest zombie-like instances of prolonged wakefulness and cannibalism among other effects. As a result, parents are advised to keep track of a teen’s internet activity if they suspect their teen may be using bath salts. These drugs can be especially dangerous since not as much research has been completed on their effects.

Cough syrup

Some adolescents turn to another substance often found in the medicine cabinet – cough syrup. Some teens can attempt to drink multiple bottles of this at a time, in order to experience the effects of the active ingredient dextromethorphan or DXM. Those who use it give the experience a number of different names. Robotripping is the term the for those who ingest large amounts of Robotussin.


Yes, even the substance potpourri has the potential to be misused. A young person will often ingest this by smoking it, which presents a host of dangers. This can include hallucinations and paranoia. The user will also risk increasing their heart rate to potentially dangerous levels as well. Parents who suspect abuse will want to remove any forms of it from the home immediately.


Aerosol cans of whipped cream can also be abused for their nitrous oxide properties. The short lived high from inhaling contents can last anywhere from seconds to minutes. In significant enough amounts, there can be serious consequences from its abuse. Those who ingest the substances to extreme amounts can be hospitalized as result. One alternative for those that do have a problem with abuse of such cans is to purchase whipped cream that comes in a plastic tub instead.

Parents and treatment

The bottom line is that a teen who is desperately seeking to get the high or other effect of substance abuse can turn to a number of household items to meet this end. Concerned parents will need to remove any questionable substances from the home, but should not stop there. Those who have developed a serious dependence will need to seek treatment, including medication and therapy to promote better health. To find out more information on how White River Academy can help your adolescent overcome substance abuse, mental health disorders or co-occurring disorders, you can contact us at anytime at 866-520-0905.

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