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Parent Drug Guide

View a breakdown of information for various drugs

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Parent Drug Chart

View a breakdown of information for various drugs. Do you understand the common terms and slang kids use for different types of drugs? This information will help you better recognize potential drug use with your kids.

Street Names/Commercial
  • Booze
Looks Like
  • Liquid (types include beer, wine, liquor)
How It’s Used/Abused
  • Alcohol is drunk
What Teens Have Heard
  • Makes a boring night fun
Dangerous Because
  • Impairs reasoning
  • Clouds judgment
  • Long-term heavy drinking can lead to alcoholism, liver and heart disease
Teen Usage (Grades 9-12)
  • 1 in 2 teens drank alcohol last year
Signs of Abuse
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hangovers
Important to Know
  • Being a child of an alcoholic places children at greater risk for developing alcohol problems
Street Names/Commercial
  • Big C
  • Blow
  • Bump
  • Coke
  • Nose Candy
  • Rock
  • Snow
Looks Like
  • White crystalline powder
  • Chips
  • Chunks of white rocks
How It’s Used/Abused
  • Cocaine can be snorted or injected
  • Crack can be smoked
What Teens Have Heard
  • Keeps you amped up
  • You’ll be the life of the party
Dangerous Because
  • Can cause heart attacks, strokes, and seizures
  • In rare cases, sudden death on the first use
Teen Usage (Grades 9-12)
  • 1 in 9 teens has abused cocaine or crack in their lifetime
Signs of Abuse
  • Nervous behavior
  • Restlessness
  • Bloody noses
  • High energy
Important to Know
  • Cocaine is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs
Street Names/Commercial
  • Dex
  • Red Devils
  • Robo
  • Triple C
  • Tussin
  • Skittles
  • Syrup
Looks Like
  • Liquid
  • Pills
  • Powder
  • Gelcaps
How It’s Used/Abused
  • Swallowed
What Teens Have Heard
  • Causes a trippy high with various plateaus
Dangerous Because
  • Can cause abdominal pain, extreme nausea, liver damage
Teen Usage (Grades 9-12)
  • 1 in 8 teens has abused cough medicine in their lifetime
Signs of Abuse
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
Important to Know
  • The “high” from cough medicine is caused by ingesting a large amount of dextromethorphan (DXM), a common active ingredient

Warning Signs

How can I tell if my child needs counseling?
(adapted from NIMH)

Not every problem is serious. In fact, many everyday stresses can cause changes in your child’s behavior. For example, the birth of a sibling may cause a child to temporarily act much younger than he or she is. It is important to be able to tell the difference between typical behavior changes and those associated with more serious problems.

Things to consider:

  • Does your child experience problems across a variety of settings, such as at school, at home, or with peers?
  • Is your child experiencing changes in appetite or sleep?
  • Is your child withdrawing from friends and/or family?
  • Is your child exhibiting fearful behavior toward things he or she normally is not afraid of?
  • Is your child returning to behaviors more common in younger children, such as bed-wetting, for a long time?
  • Does your child exhibit signs of being upset, such as sadness or tearfulness?
  • Does your child exhibit signs of self-destructive behavior, such as head-banging, or a tendency to get hurt often?
  • Is your child exhibiting anger frequently, often resulting in attacking people or things?
    Is your child having difficulty concentrating or sitting still leading to poor school performance?
  • Is your child expressing repeated thoughts of death either verbally, through play, or art?

“While these items may indicate a concern, the most important indicator is the perception of the caregivers and others involved in your child’s life. If you feel your child is having behavioral or emotional concerns, consider scheduling him or her for an assessment at a counseling agency. After learning more about you, your child, and how he or she is doing in different areas of life, the counselor will make recommendations regarding next steps as appropriate.”

Suicide Prevention

Learn more about suicide prevention

Suicide is by far the most serious act into which anyone can enter. It is a final act. Once it is completed, it can’t be undone. Before coming to this final step, all alternatives must be considered. Below are some alternatives that you might want to think about.

Talk to someone

The first step is talking to someone about your feelings. You are not alone in your feelings of despair and pain. You are not the only person to consider suicide as a solution. You may feel that you are powerless to change the situation or your feelings. You do have that power if you will share the burden of pain with someone who you can trust to take you seriously. This may be a family physician, a friend, a neighbor, a member of the clergy, a co-worker, or other in whom you have confidence. If there is no one who fits this category, a crisis line support group listed in this website can help you begin. If you are a teenager or youth, seek an adult such as a parent, teacher, counselor, clergy person, etc. whom you can trust to take you seriously and to help. All Ohio counties maintain Crisis Hotlines for the purpose of helping callers deal with what seem to be crises without solutions. These telephone numbers are listed in the page of this website.

Ohio Crisis Hotlines

You may feel that the problems of living have become so heavy and twisted that you can’t bear to think of tackling them anymore. Sharing this with another person whom you trust can help you sort through some of them and lighten your burden. Anyone who loves or respects you as a person will do this willingly and will not be hurt by this sharing. If discussions with this person do not resolve the issue quickly and lead you away from your state of depression and despair, professional assistance is available through private and public practitioners in psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling and others who are experienced in depression. These people may be contacted through family physicians, Crisis centers, Community Mental Health Centers, Hospital Emergency Rooms, and insurance provider listings. Local mental health support organizations such as the Mental Health Association, National Association for Mentally Illness and others may be helpful.

Understand the reason for depression

Many bleak depressions aren’t caused by life situations even though they seem to be. Long term depression characterized by a loss of all joy for life, loss of enthusiasm for anything, loss or gain of significant amounts of weight, listlessness, over-sleeping or insomnia, isolation from others, reliance on alcohol or drugs, and difficulty concentrating or focusing all can be signs of a depression that results from an imbalance in body chemistry. This depression will not be resolved by talk alone. For this type of depression, medication may be required to put the body back in balance. As your depression begins to lift, normal patterns of activity, sleep, enjoyment, appetite, memory and thinking skills will return.

Depression support groups exist in many local communities. These groups are designed to help people suffering from depression meet with others who have suffered from the same pain, and to learn that they are not alone. These groups also provide help and support for individuals who are suffering. They assist members in dealing with their individual issues and refer them to competent, qualified help within the community. Third, support groups offer education for sufferers and their families in order to increase awareness of depression and its causes and treatment. You can find these groups through local County Community Mental Health Boards, NAMI offices, Mental Health Associations, or yellow pages. Visit our Resources page for more information.

Let your family know how you’re feeling

The brunt of the emotional loss, shame, guilt, and material burden in the case of a suicide is left with the family. It is only fair therefore that prior to putting suicidal thoughts into practice, at least one family member should hear the truth about your pain, suffering, and need for help. Chances are, they aren’t aware of how deep the pain goes. Some family member who you are close to or trust may be able to help in sorting out the issues, and finding ways to solve the problems.

Don’t be disappointed in people who may tell you that your problems are just “not that serious” or that they need to “forget their problems” or offer other advice that minimizes your pain. This is certainly not helpful and only reflects a lack of knowledge on their part, not your unworthiness or inability to cope, Seek another source of help or a professional in crisis resolution as you would with any other problem in your life

When should I suspect that someone is considering suicide?

Persons who are considering suicide generally display symptoms of depression. These signs may include but not be limited to the following:

  • Sudden radical changes in mood, particularly depression
  • Increasingly self-deprecating remarks
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Giving away of cherished items
  • Making goodbyes
  • Serious withdrawal from activities and significant persons
  • Persistent discussions of death
  • Self-destructive or high-risk behavior
  • Previous attempts of suicide
  • Identification with someone who has committed suicide
  • Statements of a desire to explore or complete suicide

Always take the indications seriously!


In meeting a person who appears to be depressed, don’t be afraid to offer help even if it means only sitting and listening, or offering a shoulder to cry on. Be supportive and non-judgmental. Help the person vent his or her feelings. Don’t try to fix the persons problems for him/her or offer a solution. Don’t attempt to minimize the feelings that the person is verbalizing even though they may seem small to you. Often, just the process of allowing the person to talk about his/her problems may provide a significant amount of relief for at lest a temporary period. Don’t enter into a pact of secrecy with this person. He or she is aware that you have offered to help and to be there for him or her. By agreeing to not discuss the problem with anyone else, you will be personally conflicted in the event that it becomes necessary to share your information in order to save the person’s life.


Ask the person if he or she is having thoughts of suicide. This is a safe question. Either the person is or is not. Your asking the question will not put the thought into his or her head, and will not lead to suicide.


In the event that the person answers the question, “Yes,” follow the answer by asking if he or she has an active plan for when and how the plan would be carried out and whether he or she has the implements needed to carry out the plan. If the person has answered “yes” to this question, it will be important to ensure that he/she begins to deal with professional help as soon as possible, voluntarily or involuntarily.


Suicidal action is born in a point of crisis at which the emotions and pain experienced by the person become unendurable. The longer the person can be kept talking and venting his/her feelings, the more likely he or she is to calm to a more rational and self-manageable state. At this point he or she may be more ready to look at the alternatives to suicide.


When the person has calmed to the point where the discussion can begin to turn to the direction of the resolution of his/her pain by a method other than suicide, Action needs to be taken immediately before the degree of pain and despair begins to mount again. This action should take the form of making immediate contact with a professional in order to have the person evaluated for the risk of suicide. This can be done through a visit to the local hospital emergency room, contact with the local crisis response hotline (see information and resources), or a local crisis center visit. In any case, the person should be accompanied until that evaluation is made. In the event that the person is a child or adolescent, involve the parent immediately, as all authority for voluntary professional help requires parental permission


If the person is unwilling to seek help, Contact the county suicide or crisis hotline listed in this website yourself. Explain the situation and ask for assistance in resolving it. If the person has already begun the process of completing suicide, notify 911 immediately. Give them as much information regarding the address, the person involved, the method by which the suicide was attempted, and any other information which you have available. Stay with the person until help arrives.


Take good care of yourself. You will have just participated in a very stressful process. You are advised to decompress after the experience. Again, the best way to deal with the stress is by talking about it in as much detail as possible with those you have confidence in. They may be friends, counselors, clergymen, family, etc. It is most important that you take advantage of the opportunity to vent


Sometimes, in spite of the best efforts of friends, family, or professionals, people manage in the completion of suicides. If you have followed the basic process outlined above and have made a sincere attempt to prevent suicide, you have performed in a heroic manner. The choice of suicide was not yours. You did what you could to convince the person to select an alternate route. Again, you are advised to seek a form of release of emotions. In this case, counseling by a clergyman or a mental health professional is advised.

How do you know who may be suicidal?

Suicide is a response to an unbearable, long term and unceasing pain that robs the sufferer of any sense of hope. The ending of life seems to the sufferer to be the way left. To an outsider, the problems or issues of with the suicidal may not seem to call for such drastic action. The suicidal person, however, is looking at his/her situation from a different perspective. This view is much darker from the inside than it is from the outside. In order to help the person whose depression or fears are so great as to lead him or her to consider that final step, we need to consider his or her view and deal with that view seriously.

Suicidal behavior is found in all segments of the population in America. While some groups of the population show a higher rate of suicidal behavior, it is well to remember that no group is safe. Suicidal risk is higher in adolescents, middle-aged white men, and the elderly. Males are more prone than are females. Whites are more likely to commit suicide than African Americans. A number of demographics can be cited regarding group risk. In the end, however, suicide is a singular event completed by an individual. Prevention of suicidal behavior begins at that level.

Suicide myths

Many popular myths exist about suicide exist today. These myths interfere with treatment and the rescuing of those who need help. Below are some of these myths.

People who talk about suicide don’t complete suicide.

Many people who talk about suicide are signaling to the outside world that regardless of how they appear on the surface, they are in great pain on the inside. They often see no way out except ending their lives. If someone is talking about killing himself or herself, one of the best things you can do is find them professional help immediately.

People who attempt or complete suicide are weak or immoral.

Those who attempt suicide are simply without hope and need the help and encouragement of others in order to gain that hope again.

Suicidal people simply need to know that their problems aren’t that bad.

The suicidal person views his/her problems, issues, and life through his or her own perspective and is unlikely to be convinced that his or her problems are “not that severe.” In fact, this suggestion is liable to alienate the person.

Some people just commit suicide for little or no reason.

Some personal reasons are very intense. The person’s reason means something to him or her. He/she needs your support and professional help as well.

Someone who unsuccessfully attempted suicide won’t try again.

A failed suicide will not in and of itself necessarily prevent a repeat of the attempt.

Talking to a depressed person about suicide will put the idea into his/her head.

Talking about the issues involved in a person’s depression or asking whether the person is suicidal will not lead to the suicidal act. It may help him/her to step back.

Suicidal tendencies are inherited.

While a tendency toward depression may be condition suicidal tendencies are not.

Suicide statements or actions are bids for attention or manipulation.

As no one else can see the world from inside the person’s eyes, the chance that this is true can’t be taken. Even “staged” suicidal attempts have been known to be completed by accident.

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