SUMMARY: Kathleen Mills and Phillip Crum are joined by LaShondra Manning to discuss street drugs kids are using for self destructive behavior. What parents need to know and what parents are needing to look for to determine if their adolescent is at risk.
Episode #55 | LaShondra Manning | Street Drugs
Kathleen Mills-Proprietor, Counselor at Life Tree Counseling
Phillip Crum-The Content Marketing Coach
LaShondra Manning-Counselor at Life Tree Counseling
Phillip Crum: It’s 23 degrees outside.
Kathleen Mills: Is it really?
PC: Did you put the coffee on this morning?
KM: I sure did.
PC: I don’t drink it. I just want to pour it on my feet.
KM: It’s going to snow or sleet. Somebody said it was sleeting.
LaShondra Manning: Oh no!
PC: Well it was last night in the middle of the night. It did for just a little bit. But-
KM: It is coffee and it’s hot and it’s warm and we’ve got all of our sweaters and boots and stuff on because us Texans are cold. But it is 23 – it’s cold here.
PC: Looks like an Eskimo podcast.
KM: Eskimo podcast!
PC: But it is time for episode number 55.
PC: With the even popular LaShondra Manning so we’re going to get started with It’s Just Coffee, which happens to be your weekly foray in to the minds and methods of the mental health industry. The dos and the don’ts, the ups and the downs, and the
PC: And why nots.
KM: And the non-traditional trends.
PC: And things of that nature.
KM: All that kind of stuff and that’s what we’re going to be talking with LaShondra. LaShondra, how are you today?
LM: I’m good, how are you?
KM: I’m good. You look warm over there.
LM: Yes. Absolutely. Long Johns on and everything.
KM: Wow! See – she’s colder than I am.
LM: Even our headphones are good little earmuffs for us right now.
KM: That’s right. Keeps us all warm and stuff like that.
PC: So we’re going to talk about, what – street drugs? And trends and new things.
LM: We are.
PC: So, who are we talking to today? Are we talking to parents or kids or teachers?
LM: This is a PSA, a public service announcement for parents – absolutely. Teachers as well, but definitely parents. That’s who I definitely want to focus on today.
KM: A lot of times parents really aren’t up on the current things and it’s really good to kind of give them a little information about things that could be going on, whether it’s with their kid or maybe their adolescent’s friends or something. Things to look for.
LM: Absolutely. Right, because you never know how teenagers are going to cope with what’s going on. And then, too, they’re just so – I don’t know if “creative” is the word…creative is not the word. Creativity I think is positive, should be. But I think they’re just bored, have nothing to do so they’re curious. That’s the thing – they’re curious.
KM: Right. Experimenting.
LM: So some of the things that we’re going to talk about is not empirical research, so we don’t have empirical research to back it up, but it is online and it is a possibility. Some people have said that these things are hoaxes, that this has not happened. The fact that it’s on the internet and it’s been on the news means something. So I think that if we can keep up with the Kardashians, then we can at least keep up with some trends that could possibly affect our children.
PC: Of course you have to know where to look to keep up with it anyway. That was one of the problems that I incurred way back when, when my kiddos were experimenting, is I didn’t even know what to look for. I didn’t know… have you ever had one of your parents, when you were growing up, yell at you and say, “Why didn’t you ask?” Well, I didn’t know there was a question. I didn’t even know there was a problem.
KM: Right. You have experience with this. You have- and that’s the whole point of today is like, “I don’t even know what to ask. I don’t even know what’s really going on.” Not that you live in a hole or anything, but it’s a lot to keep up.
PC: Yeah, well right. And we’re here to talk about the second leg of the journey, which is, “Okay, I think we have a problem. I’m going to Google up some information.” But the first step is realizing or admitting – sounds like a 12-step program here, but – that you even have a problem and that was part of my problem was, “Not my kids.” I never did any of that stuff. None of it. And I didn’t know what to look for. I didn’t even know… I wasn’t even on alert. I wasn’t watching for it because, “Not my kids,” was my frame of mind. And then when their behavior became really odd and erratic, I chalked it up to, “Well, that’s the way kids are doing things.”
KM: “They’re just teenagers,” or something like that, but it didn’t equal into-
PC: No, it didn’t equal drug use.
KM: Right. Or alcohol use or anything like that.
PC: No. No. Until it was too late. So that step one is realizing that your kids, it’s possible that they could get into this stuff and even if they’re good kids, “Well, not my kids.” Well, why not your kids? Why not your kids?
KM: We’ve had that discussion, haven’t we, like, “Why not?”
PC: My eldest-
KM: Nobody’s immune is your point.
PC: No! And it’s this simple to develop the problem. I asked one of my boys one time, “How many times did you do that stuff before you knew you were –“ and I didn’t even finish the sentence and he said, “Once.” Before you knew you were hooked. Meth, one time, and he couldn’t walk away from it. It’s not a matter of willpower.
KM: It just sucked him in, didn’t it?
PC: Yeah. And he was just doing it to, “I wonder what it’s like?”
LM: He was curious.
PC: It was like walking past a chocolate cake and you take a finger full of icing and now you’re hooked. It’s that simple. Or what if somebody puts some of it in their drink when they’re not even looking? And now they’re an addict… “Oh, not my kid.” Why not your kids?
KM: And you know, there are two parents in here and that’s why LaShondra’s here is to kind of tell us what we need to be looking for.
PC: So assuming that we recognize that it’s possible that [06:22 Audio interruption from a PA system or something] that we recognize it’s possible that our kids become victims, they could be in a car wreck, too. Why not your kids? Then you can take steps to move forward, be proactive and help prevent it or recognize it and so forth. So that’s where we are. So what’s the latest and the greatest out there?
LM: We definitely want parents to be informed. So going from the past, some of the things I have – sniffing glue was a big thing that kids were doing to get high. And everything that we’re going to talk about today are actually legal products – glue is legal! You can buy that.
PC: Can I tell you- you just brought up- I was talking to my other son just earlier this week and he said- now he’s 27 I think. And he works at another printing facility and he kind of sort of runs the place and one of his employees, who’s also 50-some-odd years old as I am – I think he said he was 57. The guy has been having seizures at work.
KM: Oh my.
PC: You know, flopping around seizures. Some of the on the floor. Some of them sitting in a chair. And he has had to hold him while these seizures are happening. Well, everybody in the shop, including my son, have noticed that this guy has been huffing – which is the word for “inhaling” – canned air. Canned air for like cleaning computers and such? And the 57-year-old has been huffing canned air and immediately after he does this to get his 15-second high, he goes into seizure. This is not confined to 18-year-olds. There’s some stupid 57-year-olds, too. So I’m sorry, but that just rolled into what you just said.
LM: Yes, it is. Absolutely. You know, they were sniffing White Out when that was really popular back in the day if you remember that. You know, sniffing paint – all legal things that’s not for that.
PC: I’m still trying to get that White Out off my monitor, though. Doesn’t work.
LM: Now, this is interesting. When it comes to smoking, they are smoking coffee. We drink coffee everyday and so they’re making the coffee, kind of like marijuana if you will, and they’re wrapping it up and calling it, “Bean sticks.” So they’re using that to smoke. They’re actually smoking – we all love our Twix candy bars. That’s been rumored as something that they’re smoking, putting stuff in the middle. So kids are getting, like I said, creative but definitely in a negative way with how they can smoke things. And of course, mom and dad gives them an allowance and so yeah I’m buying all these Twix candy bars, or buying all this stuff. Okay, who cares? Kids love chocolate, and not realizing that possibly what they could be doing. Some other things that we have here is infusing vodka into gummy bears. And then this one really- it’s going to get personal. It’s crazy when I read this, I was amazed but it said inserting vodka-soaked tampons is what the females are doing. Seriously. I kid you not. Now a lot of these things are happening overseas but it very well could come to America. A lot of these things have happened in America and the last thing that has been in the news probably around May or June 2014 is Palcohol. And if you have heard anything about it, it’s little packs of alcohol that’s going to be like Kool Aid if you will. And if you put it in water and mix it up, it’s going to have those margarita, those kind of flavors or whatever, and you can drink it and get high. Or drink it and get drunk pretty much. So that’s the things that some of the teenagers are doing. With the Palcohol it’s very scary because it’s cheap like Kool Aid, and then of course it’s so portable versus a bottle that you could take somewhere. So you can take this to school. You can take it to places where it says alcohol and drugs is not aware, where’s it’s prohibited. So that’s why it’s definitely a problem and the teenagers, like I said, they’re so creative is not the right word, but curious. And so they’re trying all these different things because of course, some of the drugs that they buy – marijuana is cheap but some kids don’t have the money for that. This Palcohol is even cheaper than that so unfortunately they’re just getting creative to get these highs.
KM: So what can parents do?
PC: Check the Smirnoff bottle first off.
KM: Something. I mean, they can’t control all this stuff sometimes because it’s always changing. Just the whole history of just that experimentation. And what would you recommend parents do?
KM: I think parents need to be knowledgeable. Feel free to go online and actually look these things up because they’re online. And then I would say have a conversation with your child, regardless if you think they’re doing this. A lot of kids may have not even heard of this. But I think if they hear it from their parents first, that this is something that exists, they’ll be prone to it when your friends, your classmates or somebody approaches you with this. And talk about the ups and the downs. There’s no positive of doing this. But regardless of your mood, you know Johnny broke up with you – whatever – let’s talk about that. And I think there’s a fear with our teenagers today because of course parents have, what I always say in sessions, is punishing power. And say they don’t want to talk to their parents about different things because, “Well mom, you never liked Johnny anyway.” Well you know what, it’s not about Johnny but it’s the fact that my child is hurting. This is your first love or whatever, so I would rather there be increased communication with the parents versus the kids trying to cope or experiment with these things, which definitely makes sense and we know is not going to help them. One thing I want to go back to the Palcohol. So far it’s not legal in the United States. It’s here but it’s not legal. They’re actually in the process of trying to get it legal by going through that alcohol and some kind of tobacco commission. So the makers of this stuff are trying to get it legal in the United States. There have been some senators I believe on the east coast who have stood up and said, “We don’t want this here.” So we will see what happens. But I think it’s kind of scary that – I don’t think it’s the FDA… is it Federal Drug Administration? – the fact that they’re even considering it is scary so I hope that does not pass. But still, the other things we talked about – the Twix, the gummy bears and all that.
PC: What are they doing with a Twix bar?
KM: They are smoking it so they are putting things inside-
PC: I think the draw would give you a hernia, wouldn’t it?
PC: [Imitating inhaling]
LM: Well, we can talk about the side effects of all that. It’s crazy but they’re actually putting some of the drugs – maybe marijuana and stuff – in that instead of your regular blunts, if you will.
KM: I think it’s just constant just having a conversation and-
LM: And just being aware.
KM: And letting your teenager know, “Hey, look. I’m in the know. We need to talk. This may be happening.”
PC: I tried to smoke a Snicker bar one time but those peanuts will just choke you up.
LM: And to not be naïve to that stuff because even these things – a lot of kids look at it as, “Oh well, candy is not going to hurt me,” or whatever. But some of the side effects of this stuff is crazy because they do this and you can end up having trouble breathing. Definitely you’re not alert, which is I think what they want in getting high anyway, but they’re confused, convulsions like you were talking about the 57-year-old, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, hallucinations, increased thirst, irregular heartbeat, muscle twitching, outrageous behavior, rapid heartbeat, trouble sleeping, increased urination, vomiting. Those are some serious things.
PC: That was me yesterday.
LM: But then, too, that’s something for parents to know. Because yes, we all can get those symptoms based on being sick or whatever. But if this is happening on a regular basis or there’s not a cold or any official diagnoses or whatever, what could be going on? So to know that these are some of the side effects I think it’s something that is beneficial.
KM: So it’s really important to have face-to-face conversations or just having your teenager in the same room with you or eating meals together, talking through stuff and not isolating.
LM: Absolutely. Because you need to know what’s different and what changes. And I think when you know someone very well, you can tell when those changes happen. And it’s crazy because I know I’m going left, I’m going to try to come back right, but I think about some of my clients – the teenagers who are cutters. They’re isolated, as you say, and they have cuts on them and the parents don’t see it. Why do you not see it?
PC: What is a cutter?
LM: Well, a cutter is- well I don’t want to call them, “A cutter” but people cut. We’ll talk about their behavior. Usually those kids who do that don’t have control. Usually you’re going to see it in females – teenage females probably to maybe your early 30s I’m pretty sure. There’s always outliers so there’s probably older people but – older people, let me say that, who cut. But they cut because they don’t have control.
PC: Cut what?
LM: They cut their skin. They’re cutting their arms. They’re cutting their legs. When the kids are really trying to hide, because some of my kids have told me they do it in upper areas, if you will because even if you wear short shorts, you can’t see it. So they’re purposely trying to hide. And my thing to that, of course, you have a 14-year-old, you’re not going to tell your kid to strip down every day to see if they’re cutting but I think this is something that maybe professionals like doctors need to be aware of. When I think about teenage girls going to get pap smears or whatever, if you will, because that area is exposed for a certain reason. If you see cuts, parents need to be notified. Do you know what’s going on? The majority of time, you’re going to see cuts it’s going to be on the arm. I would say this: Look for if it’s summertime and it’s hot and your kid is wearing long sleeves, it’s 100 degrees in Texas! So why are you wearing long sleeves? So that’s something to look at. So I would say that change in dress-
PC: Don’t tell yourself that it’s the fashion and that’s what the kids are doing.
LM: Absolutely. I think that’s something to look for. And then, too, just be aware of what’s going on in your kid’s life. Because I think if they’re coping through that first breakup, heartache, they’re making bad grades. How are they coping with it? And I think that is a direct question that parents can ask their kids. “I know this is going on. How are you coping with it?” Encourage those conversations because these kids don’t have control. They have I think fear and so they’re just doing things. Sometimes I’ve had some kids that tell me, “Well, my friend cut so I thought I’d just cut, too. She told me to cut.” And you need to be careful because all of this is so self-destructive, if you will, because my kids have used earrings – the backs of earrings – to cut. They have used staples. They have used razors. Even the razors that you shave with, taking those blades out. Just being very creative. One kid really blew me away: you know how the blade is in a pencil sharpener? She took that out and was using that to cut as well. And then I think back to the day when hanging was popular, and people are still hanging themselves. One of my kids actually tried to attempt by getting the – what is it called, you know in your curtain you have the ties? They tried to hang themselves with that. If you remember hanging with belts, that was something that was popular.
PC: You mean hanging, like trying to kill yourself, or just the asphyxiation to get some sort of sexual rush out of that?
LM: I think it’s both. I think it’s both. But of course when you’re experimenting and don’t know what you’re doing, you might be trying to get this high, if you will, and end up killing yourself.
KM: What do you recommend with parents when there’s all these things that just one thing is freaking- one thing is, but how do you bridge the gap with the teenage life and all the pressures that teenagers have? What words of encouragement or wisdom would you have with, let’s say, just parents?
PC: Where does a parent start?
KM: Yeah, how can parents… what can they do proactively to help maybe encourage their kids to do things more appropriately?
LM: I think, first of all, parents need to educate themselves about the different trends that are out there, and you need to be aware that regardless if your child is exhibiting those signs or not. Because I think if we can start the prevention stage before he gets there, that’s great. So just educate yourself, as we talked about earlier, on the possibility of these things. I think also you need to know who your child’s friends are. What kind of influences are they getting on TV? They have these iPads and these computers: what are they looking at? And when it comes to allowance and they may have jobs. I think parents need to know where this money is being spent. Yes, you have worked, but because you’re not 18 and you’re in my house, you need to know where it’s going.
KM: It’s okay to ask those questions, isn’t it?
LM: Yes, it is. It’s okay to parent, because you’re a parent. So it’s definitely okay to do that.
KM: Take your parenting power back.
PC: If you abdicate that power then they become the parent.
KM: That’s right.
LM: Absolutely. Notice when things are not normal. Know what’s going on with your child. If they’re in a relationship, they have a fight with their friend or whatever, be aware of that so they can come to you and talk about that. And notice changes. And when you’ve known your child for 13, 14, 15 years, you need to be able to know when their behavior has changed because something is up. It’s interesting, too; think about school. If they’re making good grades, why are grades going down? Something has gone on because a lot of times when I talk to parents, sometimes they can identify that triggering event and sometimes they can’t. And then of course I get the parent’s side first if you will, then I talk to the teenager and the teenager’s usually going back, “Oh no, that’s not when it is. This is when it first manifested, but this was going on,” and I’m thinking, “We could have caught it back then before it escalated, before this child started cutting. Before they started experimenting with these drugs.”
KM: There’s a world of hurt, isn’t there, when stuff like that happens?
LM: It is, and I think parents can educate themselves to find out this information. And we’ve talked about also going to YouTube and they’re Googling different things to be creative. So just like I Googled this information to be informative for today. What’s some new drug trends? That’s what the kids are looking up so the parents – beat them to the punch.
KM: Parents can Google it, too.
LM: And educate them.
KM: Right. Well said.
PC: Yeah, for the parents… for the kids I mean I target at them. For the kids, your friends don’t know any more than you do.
PC: I’ve always told my boys growing up: find people that are ten years older than you are.
PC: That know what they’re doing or are on the right track. But don’t do what your friends tell you to do. They don’t know what they’re doing, either. And just because your friend says, “Cut your arm,” doesn’t mean you should cut your arm. They say, “Cut your head off,” you shouldn’t do that. Don’t jump off the roof, either.
KM: Think through things.
PC: Kids do that and so, as a parent, you’ve got to educate yourself to begin with.
KM: There’s a lot of peer pressure.
PC: I remember finding chewing gum wrappers on the floor of the bedroom at home – the kind where you can separate the foil from the wax paper or whatever. And we used to do that at school just to kill time. There wasn’t any drug involvement. We were just killing time just to see if we could get it off there in one piece. Well, drug users use that foil for something – I don’t know if it’s cooking something or wrapping something, but they use that foil. You find that stuff in your house on the floor. They’re probably not chewing gum and killing time. There’s something going on. Or if they lose 20 lbs. all of a sudden. Nothing fits anymore. Kids don’t get smaller as they grow, typically. And they lose 20-40 lbs. all of a sudden and they’re sweating all the time, and their eyes are crossed full-time, something is going on.
KM: It’s okay to be curious as a parent.
LM: And I think it’s okay – what came to my mind, Phillip, as you were talking was I say look in the trashcan honestly. See what they’ve put in the trash. Depending on who cleans the bathroom. If the kid cleans the bathroom, cleans their room, that’s fine. They should have that responsibility. But still, I would say the parents go and just look. And look in the untraditional places. Of course look under the bed – I know parents look for diaries and stuff like that in between mattresses. But the stories I’ve heard, I would say look under dressers. I think that would be good. Look maybe in the windowsill. But just anything that you can like tape or hide stuff under. I think that would be good because there’s an easy access.
PC: If you were a prisoner in their room and had to hide something so the jailer couldn’t find it, where would you hide it? And that’s where you need to be looking.
LM: Absolutely. And maybe you don’t find anything. And I think that’s great because if you don’t find anything – great. You’ve won. But then if you do find something then that’s something where you can take some action. So I’d rather be over-cautious than not cautious enough. Because this is your child’s life.
KM: We love our children.
PC: One thing that mine used to do… they would leave the house in the middle of the night. Maybe they would come back, maybe they wouldn’t. But they would leave at two in the morning, three in the morning, and get out of the house without waking anybody up. I can’t get to the refrigerator without waking the neighbors. So I still don’t know how they got down the stairs and out without waking anybody up. The dog slept through it. So what’s the point? Make it difficult to get out of the house because they’re going to be sneaky at odd hours.
LM: Absolutely. And a lot of things, like when I think about cutting, if you’re not cutting deeply… they’re not going to be hollering and screaming. So you’re right, a lot of things that we talked about are going to happen quietly. So that’s why you have to be proactive and look with your eyes.
KM: Loving them and communication is key.
PC: So I want to- I’m a parent. I want to bone up on this stuff just so I know what I’m looking at. I really don’t think this applies to my kids. Okay, I’m in denial but I want to know anyway just in case. Where do I go? I can go to Google and Google up stuff and what not. Are there classes that you know of? Schools do this, do that? What’s out there to help me, educate me, as a parent?
LM: Besides the internet, which I think is fast and free because we all have it, I know there are probably some drug institutes around here that could give education. I wish I had some names for that. But you can even Google that to find out the place and I know they would actually have written material if you need that. That would be helpful. You could talk to the school. Are the school counselors up on this? Who knows, but you could definitely ask. Ask them at least what they’re seeing.
PC: Right. I remember growing up the police department came to our school and had a whole display of stuff so I’m guessing that they probably still something similar. They’re the ones that would know. You could probably contact the police department and say, “Look, I want to get a group of parents together from my school and have a show and tell to educate the parents on what’s going on out there so we know.” And I’m guessing that most of them would probably be happy to come and do a presentation.
LM: They could. And then I also think about just talking to your friends. I know most parents when they have kids, they have friends that have kids in the same age. Well, have those conversations with each other. I think people think there’s a stigma, “Okay, my child cut. I don’t want to tell anybody.” But then, too, you could help somebody else. These are the signs. This is what I missed. So use it as a learning opportunity with your network of friends who have kids that’s the same age as yours, or that’s a little bit older. And I think if you start that conversation, people will be open.
PC: Every kid does stupid stuff growing up.
LM: They do.
PC: Some of that stupid stuff will kill them.
PC: That’s why you don’t let them put their finger in the socket. You don’t let them near the stove. There are things in life that can kill your kid. This is one of them whether they purposely pursue it or somebody slips it in their drink or something when they’re not looking. This is part of parenting.
KM: Vigilance when your teenager is a teenager, just like you were vigilant when your two-year-old was putting their hand on the stove.
PC: Right. Because this could happen to your kids. Why not your kids?
KM: Why not?
PC: What is so special about your kids that life won’t come after them?
LM: Absolutely. And then, too, just educate them. I remember my parents taught me not to take everything from everybody. If you go somewhere – now if you’re a teenager, you shouldn’t be drinking first of all. But if somebody gives you a drink and it’s open and it’s not a canned soda that you can open, you don’t need to drink that because you don’t know what’s in there.
PC: It’s way overrated anyway. Way overrated.
PC: Try coffee. In fact, we’re out of coffee and we’re out of time. So where can we find you, LaShondra?
LM: Well I’m on the Life Tree website, so www.lifetreecounseling.com and come on down to Addison and you can see one of your favorite teenage counselors and of course I can be reached at 972-234-6634 ext. 303.
PC: And I’m betting we can find you at the same place.
PC: Alright, well I’m still Phillip Crum, contentmarketingcoach.us. 214-264-6297. Call me if you think this might be an interesting way to market your business or if you’re just bored and lonely. I’ll talk to you. I might refer you to LaShondra, but it will be fun. So thanks for listening, everybody.
KM: Thank you, LaShondra, very much.
LM: You’re welcome. Thank you, guys.
KM: Thank you, Phillip.
PC: We’ll see you next week. On we go.