It can be incredibly scary if you suspect your teenager is using drugs — especially drugs that can be smoked. While it may be a good practice to give your child some privacy, it’s important to remember that what they’re doing is your business. So if you’re concerned that your child is using drugs, it’s worth investigating.
Finding drug paraphernalia can be a terrifying realization for any parent. However, you should approach the situation carefully and be as informed as possible before you talk to your child. Knowing what drugs your child is potentially using will help you get them the right treatment.
Risks of Drug and Alcohol Use for Teenagers
Substance abuse is already a dangerous and complex issue, but is made more problematic when the affected person is a teenager. Alcohol and drugs can actually modify teenagers’ developing brains, causing long-term emotional and mental health issues. Additionally, adolescents and teenagers who use drugs or alcohol are more vulnerable to developing substance abuse disorders.
Recognizing Drug Paraphernalia
Because teenagers’ brains are still developing, drug and alcohol use is particularly harmful if not addresses right away. Knowing what kinds of drugs your child is using is the first step in helping them to stop using. But it can be difficult to tell what kinds of drugs your child is using if you don’t know what drug that can be smoked, or how to recognize the different kinds of drug paraphernalia.
Teenagers often experiment with alcohol first. In fact, alcohol is the most widely used intoxicant by teenagers and young people. However, marijuana use is steadily increasing — surpassing nicotine — as drug laws change and marijuana becomes more easily accessible. It is now the second most commonly used drug.
Marijuana comes in many forms: liquid, leaf, and solid form. It can also be found in foods, often referred to as edibles. However, marijuana is one of the drugs that can be smoked. Depending on the form, different types of smoking methods are used. The more commonly used pipes or smoking methods used are:
- Glass pipes — Often referred to as bowls or spoons, glass pipes are a common method for smoking marijuana.
- One hitters — Another type of glass pipe. They are cylindrical glass tubes designed for one-time use. They often resemble crack pipes.
- Vape pens — Vape pens have become increasingly popular. Liquid forms of marijuana can be smoked through vape pens.
While not as widely used as alcohol or marijuana, cocaine use still is still startlingly high among teenagers. Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the brain’s dopamine network. Crack-cocaine (crack) is the solid form of cocaine and is one of many drugs that can be smoked. It can have an instant intense effect that is highly addictive. But because the high is short-lived, users need more and more to experience the high.
Pipes used to smoke crack cocaine have a distinct shape. They are typically straight, long tubes of glass that are often sold as “oil burners.” If your teen is smoking crack, you may notice a pungent smell that resembles a mix of urine and burning plastic.
Crystal Meth Pipes
Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug. The drug can make users feel alert and also suppressed the appetite. Many teenagers who use crystal meth start using it to stay awake or lose weight, which quickly leads to a dangerous addiction.
Meth pipes can look like weed pipes. However, instead of a bowl at the end of the pipe, this type will have a bulb at one end. Crystal meth leaves a burnt or yellow streak on the glass of the pipe. If your kid is using crystal meth, the smoke the pipe produces will create a thicker cloud than that created from smoking weed. The smell of the substance doesn’t linger as long as cannabis, but it does leave a stale chemical odor behind.
PCP, sometimes called angel dust, is another highly addictive drug that can alter reality for users, causing them to see, hear, and feel things that aren’t there. Also, PCP is among drugs that can be smoked. PCP affects the brain almost immediately, causing intense mood swings and changes in the chemicals responsible for regulating moods.
People often smoke PCP out of whatever pipe they have around. Sometimes, people will lace marijuana or other drugs with PCP. Oftentimes, that pipe will be a bowl used for smoking marijuana or a meth pipe. PCP is known to give off a chemical-like smell that’s often described as a bit “leafy” but mostly like a permanent marker.
Signs Your Teenager is Using Drugs
If your teenager starts using drugs or alcohol, the signs may be subtle at first. However, over time, you will notice significant changes in your teen’s mood, physical appearance, and behavior. These changes include:
- Sudden change in behavior
- Emotional isolation; depression
- Extreme fatigue
- Hostility or irritability
- Poor personal hygiene
- Widely dilated pupils
- Pinpoint pupils
- Physical changes: bloodshot eyes, runny nose, rapid weight loss
What to do if your Teenager is Using Drugs That Can be Smoked
It’s not easy knowing that your child is struggling with substance abuse. The first step in helping your child is to educate yourself about substance abuse disorders and the specific drug your teenager is using. With this information in hand, it will be easier to talk to your teen and get them the help they need. The earlier that you get treatment for your teenager, the better.
Men’s Sober Living in Los Angeles
If you suspect or know that your teenager is using drugs, getting them help right away is incredibly important. At New Life House, we offer men’s sober living options to help your teenager stop using and get back on the right path. For more information about getting your teenager the help he needs, please contact us right away.