Weed’s Legal! Now What?

Weed is Legal

Weed is Legal! Now What?

With marijuana recently becoming legal in several states across the country, the landscape has changed. What hasn’t changed though is the fact that all substances, including marijuana, or “weed”, are harmful for developing teen brains. So Weed is Legal, now what? A human brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s, and during the adolescent years, teens are more susceptible to its negative developmental effects.

Weed is Legal

Weed is Legal, but the side effects haven’t changed. Marijuana use affects the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory retention, and awareness, or attention span. Science has also proven that teenage marijuana use can permanently lower their IQ. While it seems harmless on the surface because of its long-time glorification, weed can affect teenager’s ability to build the foundation that the rest of their lives will be built upon. Because of these changes around the perception of marijuana, it is important that the conversation that you’re having with your teen changes as well.

So exactly what should this new conversation sound like? It should involve active listening and being aware of certain slang that should set off red flags. It will also have to include empathy, understanding and avoiding the expression of your disapproval or disappointment with negative verbiage or name calling. Back in the day, we were taught through our parent’s actions that we should get upset, yell, and demand that the behavior stop. But that rarely works. Instead, most kids just decide to be even more careful about hiding whatever it is that they’re doing. Be encouraging, positive and supporting.

How to Talk to Your Teens

“Marijuana’s a Plant. How Bad Could It Be?”
I hear what you’re saying, and I understand your point. And I’m not trying to say that your life is necessarily going to be ruined or spin out of control because you smoked marijuana. I just want you to see the other side. When a person is high, their judgement is not what it would normally be and that can get you into trouble. Because while smoking weed won’t necessarily ruin your life, one bad decision can.

“I Only Do It on The Weekends.”

Well, I’m glad that this isn’t something that you’re doing all the time. The biggest concern that I have is that using any drug at your age is harmful to your brain’s development. Did you know that your brain is still developing and that it won’t stop developing until you reach your mid 20’s? I know you may not think it’s a big deal, but what are some things that we can do, either together or with your friends, to keep you from smoking marijuana?

“I Know You Smoked Weed in College.”

This one can go one of two ways. If you’ve never smoked weed, then say just that. If you did smoke when you were younger, then the fact that you’ve had first hand experiences can work in your favor. The key thing to remember about the direction of the discussion, is that this isn’t about you and whether or not you smoked weed in college. It’s solely about educating them about the choices that they’re going to have to make as they get older. Discuss your past experiences to help them understand the risks, and whatever you do, don’t lie. Now, don’t glorify certain experiences either, but be honest or you could end up losing credibility with your kids.
Check out our education page for more information on how to talk to your kids about staying away from drugs and alcohol.

Underage Drinking Trends

organization agains under age drinking

Underage Drinking Trends

Alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teenage suicide


Underage drinking happens for many reasons. One of the main reasons that some teens decide to start drinking alcohol, or using other drugs, is because they think that “everyone is doing it.” Add to that the fact that buying bottles of champagne, and drinking it straight from the bottle, is something that has been a glorified tradition among Hollywood, Hip Hop, and R & B’s culture for years. But what many of you don’t necessarily see all the time is what happens years into the alcohol abuse.
Jeff Hanneman, one of the founder members of one of America’s greatest rock bands, Slayer, died at the age of 49 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. One of the more popular artist to have recently succumb to an alcohol related death may have been one of your favorite artists. Her name was Amy Winehouse and she died at the age of 27. She died at her home, in 2011, from fatal alcohol poisoning after a long bout with alcoholism and drug abuse. Billie Holiday, a classic American Jazz singer and songwriter who broke down racial barriers in the music industry during the 1930’s, died at the age of 44 due to cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol.


Every year the “Monitoring the Future” (MTF) nationwide survey asks thousands of high school seniors about their use of alcohol and drugs during their lifetime, and you’ll be shocked at how many people AREN’T “doing it”. According the survey’s 2015 results,
• 53.3% never tried alcohol or illegal drugs
• 58% never smoked marijuana
• 93.5% never took ecstasy
• 94% never used cocaine


You don’t have to drink, or do drugs, to be cool, fit in, or relate on any level! And even more importantly, I want you to keep this in mind. Some people respond to the effects of alcohol differently than others and it’s all based on genetics. If you have a history of alcoholism, or addiction, in your family, you are four times more likely to develop a dependency than those that do not have the same family history. So, the next time that you think that you have to drink, or do drugs, to fit in because “everyone is doing it”, keep this information in mind. In the end, you should make the best choices for you that will ultimately lead down the path of who you want to become.

underage drinking

The Hidden Dangers of Designer Drugs

dangers of designer drugs

Designer Drugs & The Hidden Dangers

Designer drugs or the term “party drug” refers to a variety of drugs that are typically found, and used, at dance clubs and house parties. These drugs are sometimes also referred to as “designer drugs” because they are typically produced in illegal laboratories, using a variety of chemicals. Not only is it extremely difficult to predict these party drugs’ strength, but it’s also difficult to determine whether or not they contain poisonous ingredients, and what effects those two variables can have on the body.

Designer drugs can pose serious risks to young people’s health and safety. Because they’re tasteless, colorless, and odorless, they can be mixed with any type of drink and used to intoxicate victims without their knowledge. Because predators use these drugs to commit sexual assaults on their unsuspecting victims, they’ve all been categorized as “date rape drugs”. Below, we’ll detail the most popular party drugs and discuss what you need to know about these dangerous designer drugs.

Most Popular Designer Drugs

Street names: E, XTC, X, MDMA, Molly, Love Doves
Ecstasy is a popular recreational drug, abused mostly by teenagers and young adults. It’s effects are very similar to hallucinogens and other party drugs, but it’s actually more closely related to amphetamines, or stimulants. Ecstasy is produced illegally, in unregulated laboratories, and can often be contaminated with substances like caffeine, ephedrine, and/or other toxic substances. Users usually ingest the drug in a capsule or pill form, but some prefer to crush it into a powder and sniff the drug to achieve a faster high by having it absorbed directly into their bloodstream.
In low doses, ecstasy causes a feeling of euphoria, increased energy, increased affinity/closeness to others, and increased self-confidence. In higher doses, it can produce hallucinations, paranoia, panic, anxiety and depression. There may also be increased blood pressure and heart rate, sweating, nausea, blurred vision and vomiting associated with ecstasy use.

Street name: Roofies, R2, Roofenol
Rohypnol is the scientific name for a drug that we’ve probably all heard terrible stories associated with. Roofies, as they are commonly known on the streets belong to the same family of sedative drugs as Valium. It is one of the most popular drugs used by predators to sexually assault their victims because users experience a lack of memory, impaired judgment, dizziness, and periods of blackout. Worse, it only takes about 30 minutes for sedation to begin, and peaks within 2 hours. In total, users can feel the effects of the drug for up to 8 hours, and typically, the victim doesn’t remember anything when they come down.

Street names: Special K, Baby Food
Known most commonly by the name Special K, ketamine is a close relative of PCP and has been used as an anesthetic in medical and veterinary practices for decades. The drug can be found in several forms, most notably as capsules, powder, crystals and in liquid solutions. Its effects include temporary amnesia and intense/terrifying, hallucinations, dizziness, numbness, and even blurred vision.  The user may feel sleepy, withdrawn, or confused.  User experience a feeling of “disassociation”, as many have reported that the drug make them feel as though their mind is separated from their body.

Street names: Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X
GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate), has surfaced as a drug at clubs and rave parties and has also been associated with several cases of sexual assault. It is also illegally manufactured, prepared as an odorless, tasteless liquid. It is quickly absorbed in the body and can peak within 20 minutes to an hour. At low doses, the user may feel sociable and less inhibited.  However, taking a slightly higher dose will make the person feel dizzy, nauseous and drowsy. Push it too far, and the user can lose consciousness, or even experience seizures that result in a coma.

Street names: Angel Dust, Zoom, Sherm
PCP comes in the form of a white or colored crystal or powder or tablet. Users usually mix the drug with tobacco or marijuana and then smoke the blended mix. The drug’s effects can last as long as two weeks and there have been several documented incidents of users experiencing superhuman like strength and violent fits of rage. Usually, during these bouts of rage and violence, the users end up severely hurting themselves physically.

Street names: Acid, Blotter, Cid, Microdot, Windowpane
Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD as it’s more commonly known, is a white, odorless, crystalline powder also made illegally. The drug is sold on the streets in the forms of tablets/capsules, gelatin sheets, or pieces of cartoon-covered blotting paper. LSD’s effects can range anywhere from delusion and visual hallucinations, to panic attacks, severe depression, and psychosis. Several of the drug’s users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD. And once an LSD high gets ahold of your mind, there’s no stopping a “bad trip,” which can go on for up to twelve hours. There have been several people that have never recoveredd from a severe case of acid-induced psychosis.

Again, the illegal drug makers are focused solely on making a profit. Their reckless disregard for the health of their consumers makes messing with these designer drugs a dangerous game. As a matter of fact, with several of these drugs mentioned above, an overdose actually increases the demand for the exact same “batch” of the drug. It’s important that we educate ourselves, and those around us, on the tragic effects that these illegally manufactured drugs can have on our loved ones, so that we can significantly suppress their effects on families across the country going forward.

Sippin Lean Looks Cool…Until It Isn’t!

Say no to sippin Lean

Sippin Lean Looks Cool…Until It Isn’t!

Sippin lean in flat out dangerous. We’ve heard the rap lyrics and seen the pictures of some of the entertainment industry’s top artist(s) “sippin sizzurp”, “sippin lean”, and “sippin on good drank”. “Lean” is a mixture of the prescription cough syrup Codeine & Promethazine and a chaser of some sort, usually Sprite soda. The mixture looks purple, or pink, in color and is typically consumed from large white Styrofoam cups that are doubled to insulate the drink and keep it cold.
The glorification of the prescription drug has made it quite popular, very quickly. And while there is still some unknown surrounding the long-term effects of “sippin lean”, we do know that rapper Lil Wayne suffered a series of seizures that were allegedly triggered after he over dosed on lean. We also know that Pimp C, a popular Houston based rapper, died in 2007 of sleep apnea complications after drinking lean. Because he had sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing while you sleep, and drank lean, which slows down your body’s systems, including breathing, he went to sleep and never woke up. More recently, rapper A$AP Yams died in 2015, reportedly from overdosing on lean and other drugs. So, before you consider joining in on the “sippin lean” phenomenon, especially if you have respiratory issues like asthma or sleep apnea, please get the facts first.

6 Things That You Probably Didn’t Know About Sippin “Lean”

1.  The drink is called Lean because once high on the drug, the user experiences a loss of control over their body. People high on Lean tend to lean or slump over.

2. Codeine, one of the active ingredients in “Lean”, is an opiate very similar to Heroin, Morphine, Oxycontin and Vicodin. Lean has been coined as, “Hip-Hop’s New Heroin”. Have you’ve ever seen a heroin addict? Yea, not a good look.

3. Codeine, while very similar to Heroin, is slightly less addictive. However, once addicted, the withdrawal symptoms mirror those of someone coming down from a Heroin addiction.

4. The two active ingredients in lean, Codeine & Promethazine, depresses the central nervous system, meaning they slow your body down, and this includes your breathing. This is why people feel that “good feeling” or that high.  The problem is, that it can slow the body’s systems down so much that it just stops breathing and you die.

5. In April of 2012, a rapper from L.A., Schoolboy Q, revealed that he quit sipping on Lean and was trying to get A$AP Rocky to follow his lead. Schoolboy Q said he quit after he drank some Lean and passed out, then woke up breathing heavily because of complications with his asthma. He went on to say, “I don’t know if it was a near-death experience, but it felt like I was about to die. I’ve been going through withdrawals…It’s like somebody’s grabbing your stomach…and just holding it.”

6. The drug can cause Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which can be fatal. Symptoms may include fever, stiff muscles, confusion, abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat and sweating.

If you need or know someone who may have a problem you can find helpful resources here.

7 Tips to Help Teens Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Prevent underage alcohol and drug use

7 Tips to Help Teens

7 Tips to Help Teens Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Even though it may seem like it, not everyone is “doing it.” A recent nationwide survey conducted by “Monitoring the Future” (MTF), found that just about 53.3% of high school seniors have never tried alcohol or illegal drugs.
Here are 7 tips to help teens to deal with the challenges associated with underage drinking and drug use:

Step 1: Birds of a Feather – The people that we spend our time with can heavily influence our decisions, and you may be at increased risk if you hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs.

Step 2: Think Ahead – Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug abuse. Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, if you need them to pick you up. Also, create a plan in advance for attending parties, or going out with your friends and inform your parents about them so that you are on the same page.

Step 3: Don’t Be Afraid, Say “No” – The fear of a negative reaction from one of our friends, or someone we’ve recently met, keeps us from thinking clearly and doing what we know is right sometimes. Don’t let someone else force a decision that they have made for their life onto yours. Say NO!

Step 4: Talk to Mom & Dad…or an Aunt or Uncle – Having people close to you that you can rely on creates a support system that can help you make tough decisions about alcohol and drugs. The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can be invaluable and will only help you to put things into perspective.

Step 5: Educate Yourself –  Don’t rely on the myths and misconceptions that are floating around amongst your friends, or the internet. Educating yourself increases your ability to make the right decisions, at the right time. As you learn, share what you’ve learned with your friends and your family so that they too can be empowered. See educational resources here.

Step 6: Speak Up, Speak Out & Take Control –  Take responsibility of your life, your health and your safety.  Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends and your community, and encourage others to do the same. If you, or someone you know, is having trouble with alcohol or drugs, get help now. Don’t wait!

Step 7: Don’t Include Alcohol or Drugs – Learn how to enjoy life without incorporating alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can change who you are and limit your life’s potential. If you find that you have extra time that you may be spending unwisely, get involved in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts, or even volunteering.

These 7 tips to help teens will not only limit the amount of exposure to situations associated with drugs and/or alcohol, but they will also help to empower you so that you can help others to do the same. If you think that you, or a friend, may have a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help right now. (305) 273-3744 Ext. 7232

6 Tips for Parents to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Parentinng Tips | Keep your kids off drugs

6 Tips for Parents to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse

It is difficult as parents to consistently monitor what our teens are doing throughout the day, every day. And it has definitely gotten increasingly more difficult to expect kids to refrain from underage abuse of alcohol and drugs without being properly armed with the right social tools. As parents, we are always trying to insulate our kids from these evils, but it is definitely an uphill battle.
Here are a 6 tips for parents to help create a plan that will help prevent underage drinking and/or drug abuse in their household.

Step 1: Discuss Expectations – It is important that you constantly speak with your children about what your expectations are regarding their behavior toward drugs and alcohol, and then work as closely with them to help meet those expectations.

Step 2: Be Open, or Be Shutout – Although it is much easier said than done, keep your communication open about alcohol use. An overreaction to bad news about alcohol use by your, or other, teens in your community, and you’re likely not to get the full story the next time a similar subject is brought up. The more your teen is willing to talk with you about alcohol, the better the chances that he or she will not drink.

Step 3: Self Esteem is Critical – Helping your children develop a strong sense of self-esteem, as well as the necessary social skills to withstand peer pressure, will help them avoid situations where they feel compelled to drink. Always let them know they are loved and valued.

Step 4: Spend Time with Your Children – Spend as much time with your children as you can. Let them know that you are aware of alcohol use within the school community, and that you know that they may be encouraged to drink alcohol by their peers. However, always be encouraging and implore them to make smart decisions.

Step 5: Make a Pledge – Make an alcohol-free pledge with your children throughout the duration of their high school years and constantly remind them about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, including the lethal effect of binge drinking. Suggest other ways for them to deal with stress and emotional problems and provide support for them throughout their challenges.

Step 6: Set Consequences – It’s important that kids understand that every decision they make has consequences. Don’t allow them to think they that are “getting away” with behavior that your family has deemed as unacceptable.


6 Tips for Parents

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, more than 6 million young people reported that they have engaged in binge drinking. It is not hard to see why, when you see how teenagers are bombarded with advertising and subliminal messaging. When a teenager sees a beer ad, where the men and women are dancing and having a great time – and then the screen pans to a shot of their beers prominently displayed, and being consumed by these people who are having the times of their lives, it is difficult for them to forget that and focus on how bad alcohol is “supposed” to be for their health.

So, it is our job to consistently use the tools like the 6 tips for parents above to help our teenagers to abstain from alcohol and drug abuse.

If you think that your teen may have a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help right now. (305) 273-3744 Ext. 7232

Trends in Drug Use & The Dangers: Flakka


Drug Use Trends & The Dangers: Flakka

Drug use trends show synthetic drugs on the rise. By now, many of you have heard about the synthetic designer drug “Flakka”, or, “Gravel” as it’s known in many parts of the country because of its white crystal chunks that have been compared to aquarium gravel. Flakka drug use has been spreading across Florida, leaving horrific stories in its trail.

One drug use trends report claims that a man who broke down the hurricane proof doors to a police department later admitted to being high on the drug. Another police report stated that a woman “ran down a neighborhood street screaming that she was Satan” while under the influence of Flakka. While the drug is supposed to produce a similar effect to cocaine, the dangers lie in the uncertainty within the dosages and the other foreign elements that are mixed with the drug during its development. Per South Florida Epidemiologist Jim Hall, even a small overdose of Flakka, which can be smoked, injected, or snorted, can lead to a variety of extreme symptoms, ranging from wild psychotic episodes marked by violent, super-human behavior, to spikes in body temperature and paranoia.

Flakka is Spanish slang for a skinny, beautiful woman (“la flaca”). However, this synthetic drug and beautiful women have nothing in common. The synthetic drug contains a chemical that is a close cousin of the key ingredient in “bath salts”. These chemicals destroy your body by sticking to molecules on the surface of the neurons that are responsible for keeping your levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, in check. These foreign chemicals flood your brain and create mood altering effects that last much longer that cocaine and other methamphetamines.


Although a Flakka high typically lasts several hours, there have been cases where the neurological effects were permanent. Cocaine is another drug that wreaks terrible havoc on your body’s systems, and because flakka, like bath salts, hangs around in body for much longer than cocaine, the extent of the potential destruction could be even greater. Another serious, potentially long term side effect of using flakka is its effect on your kidneys. As a result of hyperthermia, which is an increase in body temperature due to the body’s inability to internally regulate its core temperature, the drug causes your muscles to break down, and this takes a tremendous toll on your kidneys. Some survivors of flakka overdoses end up on dialysis for the rest of their lives.


The drug was finally banned in China over the summer and authorities have already seen a decline in Flakka associated reported cases. However, the problem with permanently getting rid of these drugs from our communities is that Chinese manufacturers can simply manipulate certain molecules, and that change is significant enough for the drug to pass through customs by a different chemical name. This ends up creating an even more dangerous game played by these manufacturers of who can quickly develop the new “Flavor of the Month”, because at the end of the day it’s all about money for them. They could care less about whether or not the drug is harmful and view its American consumers almost as their test subjects, or guinea pigs, to a certain extent.


We hope that you all paid close attention to the life altering effects that this drug use trend can have on your body and your future. With similar psychological side effects as “bath salts”, Flakka is nothing to play around with and has been at the center of numerous horror stories across the state. From the eating of people’s faces, to the Incredible Hulk-like destruction of public property from its users, Flakka has shown to be an uncontrollable synthetic drug that can have detrimental effects on the human brain and psychological well-being. Remember to take the pledge and BTRU2U!


Drug use trends