Drug and alcohol abuse by kids is a major concern of parents, health experts and even government officials. We’ve had the ‘War on Drugs,’ ‘Just Say No’ campaign, as well as in-school anti-drug education programs, all in an effort to inform kids and keep them safe. Does it work? For some kids, yes it does. Drug use for them goes no further than a quick sniff of that magic-marker or the sharp scent from that new tube of model glue. For many kids, however, experimenting with alcohol and drugs is common and even seen as normal. Odds are that you or your friends enjoyed more than a few beers while under the legal age. A significant number of kids also try more accessible drugs like marijuana or mushrooms before they even leave high school. Generally, a small proportion of these kids move on to harder drugs and develop severe addiction issues. The rest leave the experimentation behind them and move on with life.
It seems like every few years there comes a news story or article which alerts the population to some new drug trend among the younger generations. These alerts are not about kids smoking pot. Those stories belong in the 1980s. A couple of years ago bath salts were the big story. Not to be confused with what you put in the tub when you want a relaxing soak, bath salts were a legally obtainable, over the counter substance available at many convenience stores. A concoction of chemicals and typically containing the stimulant Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, bath salts cause hallucinations, heart problems, high blood pressure and suicidal thoughts in those who snorted, smoked or injected the substance. Of course, the news media, as they always do, focused on bath salt use to the point where we all thought every kid was doing it. Until a new drug trend came along.
The following list looks at 15 of the more strange and bizarre (and stupid) ways kids have tried to get high or get a buzz. There are no ‘mainstream’ drugs here. Meth, coke, pot, bath salts, lsd and the rest have no place in this list because, crazily enough, they are too mainstream and ‘normal.’ After reading through this list you won’t look at your home in the same way again. You might as well change your name to Walter White (Bryan Cranston’s character on Breaking Bad – for those of you who don’t know) because when you see what kids have been using to get high, your house might as well be a meth lab.
Inhalant abuse, or “huffing” is not a new method kids use to get high. It’s been around for a long time. Cans of compressed air can be found in most homes with computers and can be purchased very easily and inexpensively. While the intended use of compressed air products, like ‘Dust Off,’ are for keeping keyboards and computers clean, kids have found another use. Inhaling the product’s hydrocarbons creates a state of temporary paralysis and oxygen depravation. It can also damage organs and cause death. Parents are warned to look out for strange smelling kids, dazed looks and a quickly diminishing supply of compressed air products. So, basically just keep an eye on your cans of Dust Off.
This one is strange and shows that kids will try anything to get a buzz. Another substance in the “huffing” category of drug use, Mothballs are another common household product. The gas emitted by Mothballs is meant to keep hungry insects away from your clothes. Turns out it also attracts kids looking to get high. Placing the product in a bag and breathing the gas causes light headedness and dizziness. Users become mentally impaired, lose coordination and can even develop scaly skin as the body tries to break down the chemicals being inhaled. The next time you visit the grandparents, keep an eye on the kids. While they may appear interested in Grandpa’s war stories, it could all be a cover as they try to get to the mothballs stashed in the closet.
13. Purple Drank
Made popular by rappers in the 1990s, Purple Drank, also known as ‘Texas Tea’, ‘Sizzurp’ or just ‘Drank,’ is another substance which continues to be used by kids to get high. Purple Drank is just cough syrup mixed with Sprite or Mountain Dew and, sometimes candy like Jolly Ranchers to add sweetness. At the core of this concoction is codeine, the drug found in prescription strength cough syrup. Popularized in hip-hop culture and reportedly consumed by Justin Bieber, Purple Drank causes a mild euphoria in users. It also produces lethargy and drowsiness and can, if taken in high enough doses, depress the nervous system and cause a person to stop breathing. High sugar content has also been linked to excessive weight gain and tooth decay.
12. Choking Game
This stands out on the list because it is not a drug. Kids do it, however, to get the same sensation they normally would from huffing. In short, the choking game involves cutting off the flow of blood to the brain to the point that the person passes out or starts to black out. Once the flow of blood to the brain is restored the burst of oxygen to the brain creates a warm, euphoric and tingly sensation. Hands, belts and ropes are common tools used and kids often believe this method of getting a buzz is safer because it involves no drug use. So young and so stupid.
11. Hand Sanitizer
It’s supposed to go on your hands to kill germs. Some kids decided that you could drink it and get really drunk fast. Sanitizers, like Purell, contain upwards of 60% ethanol. This means that just a couple ounces taken orally is the equivalent to having a couple shots of vodka. Like regular alcoholic drinks, too much can have serious side effects, including impaired motor function, memory loss, organ damage and drop in blood sugar.
If teenage drug abuse studies have shown us anything it’s that kids will eat, drink or smoke anything in an effort to get high. Enter catnip. Most people know catnip as the plant which makes your cat act like a complete idiot. As far as human consumption goes, catnip was actually smoked by people in the 1960s as an alternative to marijuana. The fad has returned as kids turn to the feline narcotic to get their own fix. Taken orally or smoked, catnip can cause relaxation, mild euphoria or giddiness. Side effects can include nausea, headaches and people making fun of you. If you notice a teenager rolling around meowing or batting a ball of yarn, call 911. Chances are their catnip was laced with something.
Known as Hippie Crack, nitrous oxide is a well known party drug. Beyond that, the dentist uses it to prep for surgery and Paul Walker even used it to make flames shoot out of his Mitsubishi Eclipse in the Fast and Furious. The most readily accessible source of whip-its can be found in the dairy section of your grocery store. In cans of whipped cream, nitrous oxide is used to expel the product from the can. Inhaling this substance (the nitrous, not the whipped cream) causes euphoria among users. It can also cause frost-bite, organ damage, suffocation and death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that in a year, over 700,000 kids tried inhalants like whip-its. It’s not limited to kids though. Even Demi Moore was hospitalized after reportedly suffering whip-it induced seizures.
Freon is the gas used in your freezer and refrigerator to keep things cold. If you breath it in, like whip-its, it can get you high. Kids have figured out that the family air-conditioner also has freon in it. This has reportedly led to them taking a screw-driver to the A/C unit in order to inhale the gas. In recent years, technicians and repairmen have reported an increase in calls related to Freon loss in air conditioner units. In addition to euphoria, huffing freon can cause liver, heart and brain damage as well as death. It can also cause severe frostbite on the face and airway.
7. Potpourri and ‘Incense’
This is not the stuff your mom or wife puts out to make the place smell nice. It may look like ‘regular’ potpourri, but the substance kids are smoking is along the lines of synthetic marijuana. The product was sold legally in gas stations and convenience stores. Its main chemical was never meant for human consumption and the dangers are increased by a host of other unknown chemicals often added to the potpourri mixture. While kids look for a euphoric high, side effects are known to include convulsions, hallucinations, paranoia and seizures. Experts even point out that trying to get high with potpourri is more expensive than using marijuana, the drug it is trying to mimic.
6. Burt’s Bees
There’s a new drug term being used today – beezin’. It refers to kids who have found a bizarre way to use Burt’s Bees products to get a high. Burt’s Bees produces a line of all-natural and organic products which include toothpastes, shampoos and balms. Kids have discovered that putting the company’s lip balm on your eyelids can create a tingly high. Experts say the peppermint oil is what causes the sensation. Side effects aren’t really known but boredom and lower than average intelligence must be a prerequisite to try something so weird.
This method requires no substances but instead uses music to produce a ‘digital high.’ Utilizing stereo headphones, the user listens to a different sound or beat in each ear. The result is that the listener experiences a distinct sound ‘inside’ their head. Some have reported feelings and sensations similar to using marijuana or acid. Experts say the music can upset the body rhythm and sleep cycle patterns. We here at The Richest are pretty sure this was already done decades ago by Jimi Hendrix. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go watch Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd.
4. Vodka Tampons or Vodka Eyeballing
Kids are always sticking things where they don’t belong. Over the past few years there has been a surge in bizarre methods of alcohol consumption. Turns out they are soaking tampons in alcohol and sticking them where the sun doesn’t shine or pouring the alcohol directly into their eyes. The logic is simple, if stupid, that the thinner skin membrane and concentrated blood vessels found in these ‘certain’ areas allows alcohol to be absorbed faster. This is true but the problem is that the alcohol goes straight into the blood stream in a higher concentration than if it had been processed by the liver first. While it appears the media have made a bigger story of this than it actually is, those who do try this can face alcohol poisoning or damage to their eyes.
Continuing our trip up the wrung of the crazy drug use ladder, we arrive at nutmeg. Yes, that’s right, nutmeg. Nutmeg oil contains a tiny amount of myristicin, a psychoactive drug. Apparently kids have been eating/drinking and smoking this spice in order to get some form of high. Reported experiences appear to vary from a slight ‘buzz’ to full on hallucinations. Other side effects include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. It appears any effects of nutmeg require hours to manifest and can last for days at a time. Long enough to realize that you could have used the nutmeg to bake yourself up something tasty and useful.
2. Snorting Smarties
This is just plain stupid. We all probably remember someone in grade school who was bet to eat something gross or stick something up their nose. Turns out the future geniuses of the world are now crushing up Smarties (aka Rockets) and snorting them. Yes, we see the irony in this. The only thing worth saying about this ‘trend’ is that one side effect is reported to be the possibility of getting nasal maggots. That’s right, snort food up your nose and you could end up with maggots. What’s next? I wonder if I can smoke that loaf of bread?
We’ll just save you some time here; Jenkem is fermented human waste. Now, for those of you who want to carry on, the ride is about to depart. The use of Jenkem reportedly originated in Africa in the 1990s. Stories of its use in North America, fuelled by the media over the last decade, have been shown to be urban legend or hoax. Logically (if we can use that word here) inhaling the naturally produced methane would contribute to any “high” as oxygen levels would lower inside the body. That said, if kids are willing to snort Smarties and smoke nutmeg, we are willing to wager that somewhere there is a group of kids who have tried to ride the Brown Dragon. The whole thing is just so ridiculous that it deserves to be #1.