February 21, 2013
When it comes to the latest trends of teens drinking and getting high, some of the ways alcohol is being manipulated will shock you.
Plus, the products kids are using are likely on your grocery list.
74 percent of high school seniors in Saratoga County alone admit they have used alcohol, according to a survey conducted by the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council.
But how they're getting drunk and high is a lot more dangerous than you may think.
"I got tired of the things that I felt from smoking weed and drinking and I just wanted to experience something that I had never felt before," says a teen who used.
"Jason" is 23-years-old and started getting high off cough syrup when he was 18. NEWS10 agreed to hide his identity.
"There was a period of time that I was using cough every day for about a month," he says. "I felt as if I was having an out-of-body experience."
Students from a Saratoga County high schools say they know people like Jason.
"I think the issues have increased and they're going to be bored with the regular ways to get high and drunk by the time they get to high school," says one student. "You have sixth and seventh graders who are participating in these activities."
Gail Moore, the Outpatient Program Director at the Addictions Care Center in Albany says teens are looking for newer and more experimental ways to get drunk and high.
"We're seeing kids in the suburbs who are really bored, will put anything in their bodies," says Moore.
One of those things is hand sanitizer - made up of 65 percent alcohol. It's being distilled with salt, filtered, and then consumed.
"When you take in these products, you're not just taking in the ethyl alcohol," says Dr. Jill Braverman-Panza. "Things have other things put in them like hand sanitizers, have benzyl chromium chloride to stop you from drinking them."
Another option is gummie bears and hard candy soaked in vodka, alcoholic whipped cream, or Jason's choice, cough syrup.
"I didn't know anything about addiction," he says. "I didn't see myself becoming an addict. I thought everyone was doing it and that I would be able to use and have fun, but if I needed to stop I could just stop. But there was no stopping."
So what do you do as a parent?
Experts say it may seem simple, but monitor your medicine cabinet.
Plus, irritability is a big sign of cough syrup use. Experts say a hangover from cough syrup is actually worse than a hangover from drinking alcohol.
With so many variables now involved that go beyond just a bottle of alcohol, parents have a lot more to learn.
"It's a dangerous experimentation, you're playing with your life," says Jason, who is now a recovering heroine addict at 23-years-old.
He says within two years, the cough syrup use led to cocaine, prescription pills, and finally heroine.
He is now clean and in an addictions care center with a felony record; but sober and resolves to remain that way.