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Child Addicts

By Aubriella RonGroven-Thompson Florida Institute of Technology PSY1462 - Substance Abuse August 15, 2011 Child drug addiction can start even before the child is born if in the womb of an addicted mother. According to Dr. Stephen Piazza, assistant neonatologist and director of the Westchester County Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, if the mother takes even a small amount of drugs while pregnant it can affect the fetus. Children who are born addicted to drugs are usually withdrawn from the drugs after the first 72 hours, but infants born addicted to crack cocaine can take years to overcome their addiction. The long term effects of children born addicted to drugs can vary from physical defects to mental deficiencies. Female infants born from mothers who are addicted to amphetamines have a high risk of being born with a club foot but strangely this same issue doesnt affect male children. Even legal drugs such as cigarettes can cause serious side effects to infants if the mother smokes while pregnant. Cigarette smoking and alcohol have proven to increase the effects of illicit drug use on the infants of pregnant users. Behavior problems are usually a guarantee and a high majority of them end up in foster care. Because they come from a home involving drug and/or alcohol abuse the children are

often subjected to physical, mental, and sexual abuse. They will have poor social skills and because of the exposure to drugs and alcohol, can start using them also. Even if the mother stops using the drug when she discovers she is pregnant, the damage can already be done to the fetus. Often while the mother is going through treatment the effects can harm the fetus either from the treatment medication or the withdrawals. Withdrawing from Methadone for instance is not recommended during the first or third trimester of pregnancy because of the side effects it has on the child. Methadone is a safer alternative than taking heroin while pregnant but still comes with its own set of dangers. During the first trimester it can cause miscarriages and during the last trimester it can cause too much stress and lack of oxygen to the baby. As the rate of infants addicted to illegal drugs drops the number of infants addicted to legal prescription drugs increases. Pain clinics routinely over prescribe pain pills and more infants are being born every year addicted to prescription pills, the highest one is oxycodone. Infants born addicted to prescription pills are usually held in the hospital until the withdrawals symptoms are under control. The addicted infants display a wide variety of symptoms, such as eating problems, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, spasms, seizures, and cry incessantly. Most new parents are unprepared to deal with the added stress of dealing with an infant going through withdrawals and this can easily lead to child abuse. Infants are not the only children who are addicted to drugs, school age children can be addicts too. Children who are diagnosed with ADHD are attracted to the mellowing effects of marijuana. Their mind usually rushes everything by so quickly,

marijuana allows for them to slow down and relax for a bit. Children also tend to emulate their parents or other authority figures that they spend long periods of time with. Children who grow up with alcohol as a major part of family life tend to drink themselves. Children become addicted quicker than adults, and some children may be biologically and environmentally predestined to be easy targets of addiction. A study of children in Europe compared to children in the United States shows that children in Europe are desensitized to alcohol because parents drink with their children at a younger age and moderation is strictly enforced by the entire society. Wine and beer are acceptable at meals on a daily basis in European countries. In the United States wine is usually only served on special occasions or at parties. Children are taught that alcohol is taboo and exciting. Some parents force addiction onto their children, either by ignorance or Munchausen syndrome by proxy. They make up symptoms to get medication prescribed for their child or through bad parenting get medications prescribed that make the child more manageable. If the child misbehaves or acts out its easier to force them to take a pill and tell teachers and neighbors that the child has a psychiatric disorder than to discipline the child. Children who have enough mental disabilities also qualify for Social Security and other state benefits so some parents may also use this as an alternative source of income. The child may or may not believe that they have a disorder; children can also use this disorder to explain away bad behavior and escape punishment. Later in life, when the bad behavior escalates into criminal activities, the now grown child can use the disorder as an excuse to explain why it isnt their fault. Drugs are a well know scapegoat for neglecting personal responsibility for ones actions. 3

A child sees their parents doing it so as they grow they learn that if adults use it so can they. As children grow older they take on the excuses and vises of those around them. If dad comes home and says I had a horrible day at work and heads straight for the scotch and starts drinking, then the child thinks that is how one deals with a horrible day. If the father later beats the mother and/or child, then its not his fault because he was drunk, because of the horrible day. The same can work in a more passive manner, if mom constantly gets headaches or even migraines, takes her pain pill and goes and lies down. The child may believe this is how mommies are supposed to function and they may claim to have a headache so they can have a pill too. Children love attention, being hurt or having a physical problem, seen or unseen, will often gain the child attention. Teens are another story altogether, they are almost adults and rushing to act and be treated like adults, at least how they think adults act. They want to be all grown up and drink alcohol and have fun after hours with their friends. Teens are the most inventive when it comes to finding new ways to get high, some of them deadly. Using over the counter medicine is a hidden danger most parents dont see. Drinking enough drug store or grocery store cough syrup can get a person high. Cough syrup and at least 100 other over the counter medications contain dextromethorphan, which when taken in high doses is very dangerous. Dextromethorphan is a mild stimulant, in large quantities it causes euphoria, hallucinations, distortion of the senses, loss of coordination of the muscle, and dissociative sedation. Overdosing can cause death by toxins in the liver and other organs. 4

Other ways teens can get high without resorting to illegal drugs are to eat the seeds of a morning glory. Morning glory seed carry a chemical called LSA which is basically the same as LSD. Taking more than 10mg can be extremely toxic. Nasal spray and Sudafed care also ways to get high, that is why most stores carry Sudafed and its generic copies behind the counters and people must show an I.D. to purchase it. Flavor extracts sold in the baking isle at the local market is mostly distilled in alcohol so its a legal easy to get way to get drunk. Anything sold in a spray can, deodorant, household cleaners, air freshener, even just canned air used to clean electronics can get someone high. A really disgusting one for the uber desperate is to sniff ones own poo. Yes, I said poo, teens have been known to have a bowel movement and sniff it until they are high. Kids dont only get high on nonedible things, some normal foods also have the ability to get teens high if they just do a quick Google search. A random web search of legal things that get you high found a website of 7 foods that, if eaten enough, will get a person high. Rye bread, can contain ergot fungus which is used to make LSD. Nutmeg, but it takes a lot and doesnt kick in for several hours, after the high the ingestee is left with horrible flu symptoms. Sarpa Salpa, its a fish and you eat its head to get a 48 hour nightmare high. Stilton Cheese, causes weird dreams or the best sleep of your life, its a toss up. Unripen Mulberries, they will cause a high, but they also cause diarrhea and vomiting. Poppy seeds, they do make opium from poppy flowers so it makes sense, but someone would have to eat a lot of seeds. Lastly is an all American favorite that most adults, lots of teens, and an alarming number of younger children are addicted too. Coffee, only 500mg are needed to cause caffeine intoxication, a normal 12 ounce coffee hut coffee contains 265mg. Since America is all about bigger is better, most people 5

drink a lot more than just one small 12oz coffee in a day. Caffeine is one of those drugs that a person can easily build up a tolerance too, so its not uncommon to see people carrying around an extra venti caramel mocha double shot soy with peppermint extract. The absolute newest craze in teens getting high is called I-dosing. It involves downloading songs from the dealer that actually change your brainwaves to simulate being high. It is believed by some to be the new Gateway drug because some people worry it may lead to the listeners using harsher illegal drugs. Digital drugs as they are being called have been used for centuries by holistic practitioners and alternative medicine gurus. I-dosing is just a high tech version of meditation music, it puts the mind into an altered state and helps people leave their stress and worries behind for a short period of time. The website offers mp3 audio files for numerous situations, insomnia, weight lose, helping to quit smoking, antidepressant, and they actually have one that promises to work as a pain killer. This is not one of the websites that teens would go to as a source to get high, those audio files promise feelings like Ecstasy, Orgasm, and Cocaine. Those files can be found at Shockingly enough that website also has ads for real drug alternative, like pills and smokes that promise the same effects as illegal drugs. Self-help and hypnotherapist have been using audio tapes for years to help people change their moods and promote healing. Several cultures have also used chanting and monosyllable droning since the beginning of time to alter peoples state of minds. Teens back in the 80s and 90s use to use their Walkmans to chill out in their rooms. Kids now days have just found a higher tech way to do the same things their 6

parents did with their mp3 players, ipods, and music player cell phones. Let them get high on music, as long as they are not being influence subliminally by the ads for unregulated pills and smokes. Studies have shown that I-dosing is completely mind over matter. If the listener isnt in the mood to accept the feelings the music is supposed to invoke then it wont work. The listener has to be open minded and be ready and willing to feel what the purpose of the tones are in order for them to work. If it works for a particular teen then it is a much safer alternative to a physical high. People will always find an alternative to drugs. If one is made illegal then another yet legal one will eventually be found to replace it. Thanks to the internet and the current generations savvy internet skills that begin before kindergarten, children will always have ways of finding out the newest things to try. Adults can just educate children and hope when the time comes that they are offered something new, that they will make the smart choice with the knowledge they have been provided with. _using_drugs.html?cat=25 8