The Ten Hardest Drugs to Kick...a reality check


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Also a warning to parents of substance abusers of high-addiction drugs. Don't be fooled. Don't let down your guard. Don't help them; it's hard enough without our aid and comfort (this is just my opinion). Interesting to me that most of my daughter's druggie friends, plus my daughter, smoked cigarettes too. In fact I think they all did. Connection? Warning? I don't know. She quit the cigs with the other drugs, but cigarettes are on the list. Gateway drug? Again, I have no idea. Bet non-smoking kids rarely do anything more dire than occasional pot (if that) or social drinking. What do you think, after reading this list? My daughter used meth. I don't know which type of meth. Seems there are two.

High-addictive drugs, of course, mean those who use them are less apt to be able to walk away from them. As much as it hurts, I feel it's good to know the truth. Of course...I didn't really want to know the truth about my I'm sort of being a hypocrite here...


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I did read the comments. Fascinating, no?

I posted it because I feel too many parents, myself included, believed the old sad eyed, trembling lip, "I quit! I swear I quit!" And then $50 would go missing. Or the cops would come because '"stuff" had been found on her.

My daughter's motto to those who have children who substance abuse is: "Never trust a drug addict. Ever. They lie."

My daughter is NOT a natural liar. She does not normally lie. But that's all she did during her drug days. And she did it with tears running down her cheeks as she accused us of not trusting her, which filled me with guilt.

I believe you deal best in life as a realist. At least, as painful as it often is, at least you can decide what YOU are going to do with YOUR life if you face the truth rather than live on hope or delude yourself.

"It can always get better."

Yes, it can. It did for me. When it does, you can change your behavior toward your loved one again. But you have to have proof that he/she has changed. Can't tell you how many times I heard "I quit!" and we believed it and, therefore, trusted her in situations that we regretted, such as letting her babysit for our younger kids (yes, we did that), drive (yes, we did before her accident) or leaving her at home alone overnight while we went on vacation (coming home to her drug party was our final straw). We dodged a bullet there. The neighbors could have called the police and since the drug use was going on in OUR house, maybe we would have been held partly responsible.


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It did not surprise me that cigarettes were #3. I started smoking in law school, about 1986, quit the first time in 1995 while expecting, but started again not long after my son was born, quit again about 2001, started again for a short time in 2005 I believe (when we got stranded in Italy on vacation), then started again for real about 2009. Thru all those years there was quit and start and quit and start, lasting from days to weeks.

Jabber and I quit again Thanksgiving this year when we were both sick with sinus infections and bronchitis. We've had 5 (each) since then, four the night of January 2 when the boy had stressed us out no end and one last weekend when out with a friend who smokes. Actually not doing too bad with cravings this time. We'll see.

I actually think it might be harder because it's legal and easy to get, so no fear of jail or sneaking around.


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This list didn't surprise me. I don't see cigarettes/nicotine as a "gateway drug," I just see them as another addictive substance that someone prone to addiction will gravitate to.

I also think that people with addictive personalities tend to just trade one addiction for another. I watched my mother do it with alcohol and cigarettes. She quit drinking, but smoked like a fiend and never did quit that - smoked even when dying from it, and with an oxygen canula on her nose. Scary stuff. Ever been to an AA meeting (lots are concurrent with Al-Anon meetings) and see how much coffee and cigarettes get consumed? Par for the course.

Someone once said to me: don't ever ask an addict to choose you over their addiction. You'll lose, every time. Al-Anon is all about putting the focus back on yourself, and not on the addict-- I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with addiction in a family member.

Scent of Cedar *

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It makes sense to me that an agent that affects the chemicals involved in how our brains work would create addiction. Back when we realized difficult child son problem was drugs (duh) I did so much research on addiction in general, and on the chemicals cocaine wrings out of the brain to create the high. Picture a sponge, full of sweet, clean water. Picture a hand, wringing the sponge dry and leaving it lying in the sun.

That is how I pictured the brain of someone addicted to the kinds of drugs that end pain or slow time (which they say is the mechanism behind the high pot gives). For drugs like Ecstasy and cocaine and heroin, where the effect revolves around feeling loving, or less inhibited, or must be an exactly opposite feeling to be without the drug.

I wrote all this to difficult child son, along with vitamin and amino acid regimes to replace the progenitors of the chemicals bathing a well-balanced brain. Mom overkill again. He never read them, and he and difficult child daughter used to laugh and laugh at me for having done that.

Turns out I was right.



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I partly posted this because it alarms me so much that some parents will give drug addicts car access. Yes, alcoholics are just as dangerous.

Although I find cigarettes very offensive to me and the smoke makes my eyes tear and my throat burn, it isn't a danger to smoke cigarettes and drive so I don't care if somebody decides to lock himself into a car with his cigarette and double inhale the poison as he is ony hurting one person...himself, I do disagree that cigarettes are not something that goes hand in hand with other drug use and addiction. Smoking in teens is way down (well, cigarette smoking :p) and it is no longer that socially acceptable anywhere to smoke. I've never met an addict who did not also smoke cigarettes. And in my world, which is not THE world, my experience has been moderately heavy drinkers and partiers also tend to smoke cigarettes. I am puzzled about why they even start since it has been known for decades that it can kill you and it does kill you early. Of course there is always the odd exception. Before my hub quit he never stopped telling me about his grandfather who drank and smoked and lived to be 92. It can happen. But it's sort of like playing Russian Roulette with eight bullets. I didn't want my kids to smoke cigs and am glad they don't and would never pay for that. And I do think that is the first jump to addictive behavior, although not all smokers move on to mind altering drugs. And, again, it is only dangerous to the user, as long as they don't blow smoke in your face, so I am much kinder to cigarettes.

You can't make somebody want to be healthy, but at least once they get into a car, cigarettes don't affect the driver's ability on the road.

I was not surprised the most addictive drug was Heroin. That is making a big comeback and the outcome of heroine abusers is not good even now. If you have a grown child who is a heroin addict please help nobody, not your child or greater humanity by putting him behind the wheel of a car. This is truly a drug that many never stop using. I am alarmed it is making a comeback in high schools, and am so glad all of my children are no longer in school.

Please keep everyone as safe as you can. You can't stop your heroin or meth or Adderrall addicted adult child from driving if his friends are stupidly willing to lend him their cars, but you don't have to be a part of it. You can at least say, "I did the best I could to keep others safe from him/her." If we put them in our cars, in a big way, this is on us. We have no business allowing dangerous addicts, whether they claim to be sober or not, behind OUR cars.

We also have no business letting our buzzed alcohol party kids in a car. We owe it to ourselves to keep a clean conscience and know we have not contributed if tragedy occurs. We can't give in to their guilting us out. Yes, I did it too. We all did. But I stopped. We must ALL stop for our own sakes and theirs.

Sorry for my lecture, but hearing about addicts on the roads scares the crapola out of me.

The impairment of pot is still "iffy." I wouldn't let my high kid drive. Interestingly, I believe I read that 39% of all high school seniors claim to have at leasat smoked pot once. That is less than I'd thought and it doesn't mean they all continued. It goes along with my belief that most kids are good kids who do try things, but usually make the right choices and that wild, out-of-control teens are in the minority. I had one, but she is not the "norm." Some people also think it is normal for teens to break the law repeatedly and cuss us out. It is not.

Alcohol was the #1 drug teens abuse and try. Not all drink like fiends, but alcoholism is the biggest drug abused by this day.

My lecture for the day is over (bow and stumbles down the stairs as I am a klutz and don't need any drugs in me to be one!!!) Hope nobody is offended.
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That is some scary stuff, MWM. My son once told me he often feels disregarded at meetings because his drug of choice is alcohol and drug users at his meetings tend to tell him that's such an *easy* one to quit.

I told him they don't have to watch heroin commercials every 15 minutes during a football game or walk past the heroin display every time they go to a convenience store, so in that sense it's a lot harder to make it through the triggers of cigarettes or alcohol.

Deep inside I believe if I'd been born a man, I would probably still be smoking cigarettes. I only quit because I was pregnant.


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When I was in that Codependency course we had our weekly meetings in the room where the Substance Abuse recovery part of the program had their smoking cessation group. Part of my program was to attend lectures on various subjects around addiction. We were told that smoking cessation was part of the Substance abuse program because smoking cigarets is linked in the brain with addictive behavior. It was a part of recovery in the rehab center.


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I took a Pharmacology class (200 level) in 2003. Fascinating class in a number of ways. We were taught that nicotine is the substance which most QUICKLY can addict someone. Not the strongest, but the fastest. The strongest AND second-fastest, we were told, was crystal meth. by the way, I was a little sorry to see methadone on the list. Doesn't surprise me. But, when an addictive drug (methadone) is given to treat another drug addiction (heroin), it doesn't seem like the best option.

Anyone have any experience with methadone treatment for heroin addiction? (our difficult child has done heroin, but never methadone....and his preferred drug is meth).

What qualifies as a gateway drug? Well, I think the variety of gateway drugs would be staggering. I think the new(er) trend in gateway drugs are prescription medications (particularly opiates like vicodin and percocet). Kids just find 'em in their parents' cabinets. Don't even have to pay for them. Steal a bunch and take it to a Pharm Party to play a dangerous game of mix-n-match.

I'm now noticing that I don't hear nearly so much about huffing these days. Hopefully it's on the decrease?

MWM -- GREAT post.
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HLM, I think you have GREAT posts, by the way, before I start :)

Ok, these are my own musings. Kids that never smoke a cigarette probably are not prone to wanting to do drugs in general, except probably/possibly acceptable alcohol use under acceptable circumstances. So, yes, any drug can be a gateway drug, but I don't think a teen who only takes, say, Tylenol when he gets a headache is at great risk to substance abuse because he is using only legal substances the way he should. Jumper is like that only Jumper rarely even takes an Ibuprofen (shrug). As far as I know none of her close friends smoke.

I know she constantly talks about how bad it smells in the hallway of our apartment. Nobody is supposed to smoke there, but of course they do. Nicotine may be highly addictive and less socially acceptable than ever today, but I excuse smokers, as long as they don't force others to inhale the smoke, for their substance abuse. The reason is, they are not impaired when they drive and they are only hurting themselves. Having said that, it would have had to be a cold day in hell before I'd ever pay a dime for cigarettes for my kids, even Daughter when she used drugs. I'd look for her cigarettes in her purse and toss them in the garbage. My house/my rules. Don't bring cigarettes into my home. Sorry. Hide them somewhere outside and nobody smokes under my roof. Period.

Another risk factor I've read about is kids who are fearless and risktakers. Children who exhibit risky behavior and impulsivity as kids have a higher rate of substance abuse as teens and then, of course, becoming addicts as adults. So behavior can also be a sort of "gateway drug." But not always, of course. Nothing is "always."

Ok, over and out.


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MWM -- First, off.....thanks!

Secondly, agreed, agreed, agreed! Yeah, I should be more specific...... I mean any MOOD-ALTERING substance can be a gateway drug. Tylenol doesn't alter mood, but nicotine certainly can. I wonder what the stats really are on cigarettes as the primary gateway drug? I tend to agree that there's a case to be made for that. Not that all smokers will proceed (in fact, I don't think most will), but that all who go go on to the "biggies" in drug land, will most likely start with cigarettes. I know our difficult child did (and neither husband nor I difficult child went elsewhere for it).

I'd forgotten about the behavior aspect! Absolutely agree! And the case could be made there that risk takers are seeking that adrenalin high, so adrenalin (or some variation thereof -- epi, norepi, endorphins, etc.........whatever causes the "rush") is their gateway drug.

Such a strong biological component for both. For those hard-wired more strongly, genetically, to be prone to addiction, it's such a game of Russian Roulette to even try one drug..........any drug.


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I agree with you 100%, HLM. Cigarette smoking doesn't always lead to even smoking pot, however very few drug users don't smoke cigarettes.

I read a long time ago that risk takers, impulsive kids, and those who are defiant and don't like rules are most apt to get into drugs.

Although some people really feel ALL teenagers do these things, it's not a true statistic. About half try pot and alcohol, which is "try" and not at all the same as becoming a non-functional drop out who refuses to work and drives his parents crazy and baits the law. That also means half don't even get involved in drinking or pot and I believe that too. I may not have if I hadn't had both Sonic and Jumper, but I believe it now. Jumper especially has so many friends and she will not closely associate with anyone who does anything wrong and is very disdainful of difficult children, calling them "troublemakers." She refuses to ruin her life by using drugs, drinking at all (seriously, I wouldn't be worried if she drank a glass here and there, but her friends all tell me...nope) and she is dead set on going into Criminal Justice to help young parolees. She is very good with people and can probably get through to a parolee in a cool but firm way. Enough about her. I could go on about her forever. I think she is the greatest kid who ever walked the earth. I love all my kids, but she and Sonic have my favorite personalities and value systems.

Kids from broken homes are also at a higher risk. That was certainly the case in my family. I got divorced from my first hub and my daughter got into drugs. With a happy intact family, both Jumper and Sonic have not gotten into trouble.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
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Very informative article, thanks for sharing.

What I find really scary too is when kids are desperate to get high they will use common household items. They call it huffing.
The following it taken from this link:

Most parents are in the dark regarding the popularity and dangers of inhalant use. But children are quickly discovering that common household products are inexpensive to obtain, easy to hide and the easiest way to get high. According to national surveys, inhaling dangerous products is becoming one of the most widespread problems in the country. It is as popular as marijuana with young people. More than a million people used inhalants to get high just last year. By the time a student reaches the 8th grade, one in five will have used inhalants.