The Dangers of Teen Experimentation

During adolescence, teens are full of curiosity. They are in a stage of exploring their world, their abilities, and what’s possible. On top of their wild curiosity, teens tend to feel invincible. They tend to feel like they can achieve and do anything at all.


Sadly, these feelings of invincibility and curiosity often lead to experimenting with drugs and other dangerous activities. Most recently, teens have been lighting themselves on fire and then jumping into a pool to put out the flames. Of course, you can imagine the dangers that come with this. And, in fact, there have already been stories of teens tripping before they get into a body of water and ending up with third degree burns.


But this is not the first time that teens are doing something that place their lives at risk. It’s been happening for centuries. Stories of teens placing themselves in entirely risky situations have been around for many years.


Today, experts realize that the teen brain simply hasn’t developed to its full capacity. The pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for the part of the brain that handles reason and logical thinking hasn’t fully grown. As a result, teens tend to be more impulsive, creative, emotional, and curious.


However, these tendencies can get dangerous when teens are curious about various substances. Teens have long been testing the boundaries of physical, emotional, and psychological limitation through the use of drugs and alcohol. Drugs like LSD, cocaine, heroin, painkillers, and crystal meth have often been a part of a teen’s drug experimentation.


However, the types of drugs that teens are trying these today are changing. For instance, one significantly dangerous drug is spice.  It’s known as a designer drug. These are drugs that are manufactured to create a certain high. However, they include all sorts of ingredients, including those most people would never ingest, but mixed with other substances produce a certain effect.


Sadly, when Spice first became available to the public in the early 2000s, it was thought that they achieved an effect through a mixture of natural herbs. However, laboratory analysis performed in 2008 showed that this is not the case. Spice actually contains synthetic cannabinoids, which are used in an attempt to avoid the laws that make marijuana illegal. The use of synthetic cannabinoids instead of natural herbs makes Spice a designer drug, meaning one that is unnaturally produced. Furthermore, designer drugs are continually changing in order to stay legal. Sadly, the makers of designer drugs will continue to make alterations to the drug’s ingredients in order to stay one step ahead of the law.


Spice is considered to be a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with heroin, marijuana, and LSD. Although it might lead to feelings of euphoria, it can also cause vomiting, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, and hallucinations. The synthetic version of THC (the compound in marijuana that creates euphoria in its users) was originally created with the intent to use it for medical purposes. However, since then, others have abused the synthetic version, just as they would marijuana. Spice is not the only way to refer to this type of synthetic drug.  It has also been sold K2 and under various brand names, online, in head shops, and at some gas stations.


“Bath Salts” is another recent trend among teens curious about drugs. The name “Bath Salts” is a nickname for another type of designer drug. Bath Salts are intended to mimic the effects of cocaine with even more damaging results. For instance, Bath Salts affect the brain’s ability to process particular neurotransmitters effectively, resulting in an excessive amount of neurotransmitters, such as Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Although too much of these two neurotransmitters create the feeling of euphoria, it also leads to damaging effects such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, damage to the blood vessels, heart attack, heart failure, and a stroke. Other stimulants, such as cocaine, typically wear off relatively quickly; however the effect of Bath Salts can last up to four hours.


If you’re a teen with great curiosity, there are many parts of life to explore. What you explore, however, certainly does not have to be those activities or substances that put your life at risk. Although it’s always rewarding to push the limit, pushing the limits of your life may come at a great cost.