March 2014

There are many reasons why some teens may use alcohol and drugs, but often it is because they believe everyone else is using.

Teens in Union County often report using alcohol and smoking pot with their friends.

Only 8% of 7th grade students in Union County said they had drank alcohol in the last 30 days, and less than 2% said they had used marijuana. However, reported rates of use for both alcohol and marijuana more than doubled in 9th grade students. (2012 Union County Youth Risk Behavior Survey)

Help your teen know that most teens don’t use.

Talk to them. What you say matters!


Tune In To Your Kids

Is your teen sporting a set of headphones, watching videos on their tablet, or listening to music on their phone? Teens use their gadgets to connect with each other and keep up with popular culture. So just about the time your kid is tuning you out, you need to be more aware to what is filling their heads.

Did you know that popular artists including Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West have all referred to the drug “Molly” in their songs?  “Molly” is basically the same as the Ecstasy of the '90s but rebranded as a purer, gentler party drug. Additionally, and not particularly surprising, a recent study of hit recordings finds nearly a quarter of them mention brand name alcohol.

Consider these strategies to tune in to your kids:

  • Review the history on your teen’s electronics
  • Put on their headphones and actually listen to the music
  • If you don’t know what it means, go to and pull up the full text
  • Check out for slang words you don’t know
  • Talk to your kids regularly about what they hear, and your expectations for their choices

October 2014

Your teen might ... 

Skittling, Dexing, Robotripping and Triple C’s are slang words for the abuse of over-the-counter cough medicines containing the ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM). There are over 100 medications on the market containing DXM.  Some teens abuse these products to get high, others to induce sleep.

Teens that abuse medications with DXM often take up to 25 times the recommended dose.

Overdosing on these can induce nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, difficulty breathing and seizures. Combined with other drugs or alcohol, the effects can be worsened. 

Teens listen, even if they act like they don’t. Talk with your child to help keep them safe. There are ways to bring up critical issues like medicine abuse with your teenager – the trick is to know the right questions to ask. Teens may mistakenly believe that because dextromethorphan (DXM) is usually found in OTC cough medicines then it must be harmless and is just an easy and safe way to get high. But it is not. When abused, DXM can cause serious side effects. Parents have the power to ensure their teens hear the truth.

Help keep your teen safe:

  • Learn the lingo.
  • Talk to your teen about medicine safety and side effects.
  • Safeguard your medications.
  • Look for possible signs of abuse such as empty bottles, boxes or pill blister packs. 

For more information about over-the-counter medication abuse, visit

Union County has a strong tradition of athletics and extracurricular activities, which is one of the strengths of our community. However, teens who participate in sports and extracurricular activities are still susceptible to making poor choices to use alcohol or other drugs.

70.3% of 7th, 9th and 11th grade students in Union County report being involved in athletics. However, those same students said that while their parents talked to them frequently about school events and homework, 41.5% reported their parents never or seldom talked about alcohol or other drugs. (Union County Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2014)

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May 2015

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Union County Drug Free Coalition wants to encourage parents to learn more about the signs of teen depression and the risk of related substance abuse.

It’s not unusual for teens to feel “stressed out” or “down”.  The many physical, emotional and social changes that occur in adolescence can make life difficult for teens and their parents. Unrealistic expectations around academics, athletics, relationships or appearance can make matters worse.

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