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K2, Incense, Spice or Mr. Nice Guy … whatever alias it goes by, synthetic marijuana is a drug you must understand and combat. Cool and friendly nicknames attempt to mask the identity of this designer drug, which is made from herbs and then sprayed with synthetic chemicals — the kind you might find in pain management medications. It is primarily consumed through smoking.
More than 11,000 users were admitted to the ER in 2010; 75 percent of them were in their teens or twenties. By the beginning of last year, synthetic marijuana was the second-most-used illicit drug behind (you guessed it) marijuana.
More than 11 percent of high school seniors admit to using the designer drug. Despite a tendency to shrug off the severity of its effects, synthetic marijuana is especially dangerous for teens. An adolescent’s brain and thinking skills are not fully developed. Additionally, in individuals with a family history of mental illness or psychosis, the drug may trigger long-term psychotic disorders.
Though New York State banned the sale of “Mr. Nice Guy” more than a year ago, it is still widely sold and used. The drug is relatively cheap. Convenience and online stores market the drug as a legal alternative to marijuana, but its makeup and effects are very different. Users may show signs of violence, extreme anxiety and paranoia, among other symptoms, and may seek isolation. Additionally, users sometimes report vomiting, seizures and, in some cases, kidney failure. Because each batch is invariably different, the effects are unpredictable.
Our mission at the Child & Family Institute is to help you and your family manage life. So we rummaged around the Internet for research, news and advice about mental health, substance abuse, life balance and anything that can help you and your loved ones achieve success in life. Check out this week’s Good Reads:
- Compared to their white peers, minority children are less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis for behavioral issues, according to a Penn State study. http://nydn.us/19yBppG
- Body image pressure affects teenage girls more than most. The Huffington Post has five things to help reduce teens’ stress levels. http://huff.to/16wQq9X
The Child and Family Institute at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals (CFI) is dedicated to the mental well-being of children. Our highly skilled mental health professionals work in a variety of multidisciplinary fields. This allows us to treat a wide array of disorders in children and adolescents, ranging from mild behavioral difficulties to severe psychiatric illness. The mission of CFI is to help families raise their children in the community using public support, minimizing time spent in hospitals and residential placement.
Here’s how CFI can help your child:
- Our classroom-oriented sessions establish relationships, create strong bonds and build a sense of community, increasing the therapeutic effect.
- Your child will have his/her own therapist and psychiatrist.
- Our mental health professionals use advanced treatment methods to reach your child and make a difference in his/her life.
- Our wide array of services ensures that we can tailor treatment to your child’s individual needs.
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