With the rise of substance misuse nationwide, parents may be concerned about their teens engaging in illicit drug use. As much as parents might think their teens wouldn’t participate in such activities, drug misuse can affect people of all ages.
In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that one of the main risks for young people is prescription drug misuse. Teens have taken the proper use of prescriptions and created a dangerous game out of it by organizing “Skittles parties.” If you’re thinking about the candy, Skittles, think again. This type of party is no child’s play and will lead to something far worse than a sugar buzz.
We want to help
What Is a Skittles Party?
A Skittles party, otherwise known as a “Pharm party,” has nothing to do with the candy, Skittles. Instead, the party involves various prescription and over-the-counter drugs. People bring in whatever medications they have been prescribed or can get their hands on and place them in a bowl for partygoers to use.
Typically, these parties provide alcohol to drink with the pills, making it more dangerous for those who participate.
The name “Skittles” likely comes from the fact that once the various medications are placed in the bowl, there will be an assortment of colored pills. These parties are sometimes called pharming parties due to the pharmaceutical medications involved.
Who Does a Skittles Party Target?
Skittles parties are primarily an issue affecting teenagers. They invite several friends over on a weekend evening to get high from the various medications and alcohol. People may also bring cough syrup, such as Dayquil, which can cause intoxication at high dosages.
Common Drugs Found at a Pharm Party
As a parent, you probably wonder what type of drugs your teen may find at a Skittles party. A range of substances can show up in the party bowl. However, some prescription drugs are more commonly used among young people.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the three most common categories of prescriptions teens misuse are:
- Opioids: These drugs are primarily used as a pain relief medication but produce euphoria in users. Opioids work by binding to the opioid receptors of the brain. Examples of this medicine include Percocet and codeine.
- Stimulants: These medications are used to treat ADHD but can cause intense alertness and hyperactivity in higher dosages and can have different effects on people for whom they are not prescribed. An example of this type of medication is Adderall.
- Depressants: This medicine depresses the central nervous system, causing relaxation and slowed breathing. Examples of this medicine include Xanax and Valium.
Risks and Dangers of Going to a Skittles Party
All types of drug parties have risks associated with them. It’s especially risky when teenagers engage in drug parties because their brains aren’t fully developed, so they may make worse decisions and be influenced by peer pressure.
Some of the leading dangers in a Skittles party are as follows:
Mixing different medications not prescribed to you is dangerous, but when you add alcohol to the mix, you have a recipe for disaster.
One statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said approximately one in five people who visit the emergency room for prescription misuse have alcohol in their systems. In addition, opioid overdose deaths that listed alcohol as a contributing factor rose to 41% in 2020.
As Skittles parties encourage mixing substances with alcohol, they make having an overdose more likely.
Teens tend to be impulsive and may respond to dares and peer pressure. Attending a Skittles party is a risk in itself. However, once under the influence of substances, teens may take things even further and engage in more risk-taking behavior. For example, they may drive under the influence or find themselves in unsafe situations.
When someone starts using a substance that alters their emotions and sense of well-being, it can lead to them seek out the substance again. Over time, the brain gets rewarded and goes through withdrawal when the drug leaves the system. This leads to addiction.
Warning Signs To Look For in Your Teen
You might be unsure whether your teen is attending any Skittles parties. They probably won’t tell you if they’re because they know you wouldn’t allow it. So what are warning signs that they may be involved in going to a Skittles party? Here are a few signs you can look for:
- Your teen returns home from an outing and appears drugged or drunk.
- Your teen is evasive about what happens at the places they go.
- Your teen is showing signs of depression.
- Your teen is withdrawing from the family.
- Your teen’s behavior has changed recently.
- Your teen doesn’t seem to be eating or sleeping like they used to.
- Your teen is unusually irritable and moody.
- Your teen is taking risks that are not normal for their personality.
If you notice some of these signs, you can attempt to talk to your teen calmly about what you are seeing. Don’t be accusatory, as this may cause them to try to hide the truth. It’s best to help them open up about what they’re experiencing.
In many cases, a teen may want help but also be worried about getting into trouble. So if you offer an empathetic and understanding ear, they may feel more comfortable telling you what is going on. Then you can stage an intervention to help them get the help they need.
Getting Help for Your Teen
Once you’ve established that your teen is engaging in substance abuse and in need of help, it’s time to move forward with a detox treatment plan. At California Detox, you can count on our friendly, professional staff to assist your teen in finding freedom from whatever substances they’re taking. We offer various programs to aid your teen in detox all the way through outpatient treatment.
Our family support program will ensure that you stay involved every step of the way. Reach out and contact an admissions specialist at California Detox today. Call 949-694-8305 or contact us online.