The degree of parental involvement is a significant factor in the prevention of drug and alcohol use in adolescents and teens, as reported by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Parents should be ready and willing to talk to their children about drugs, rather than relying on the school system to do so.

The drug abuse landscape is a changing one, and it can be a challenge to provide effective education. Tools are available, often free of charge, from outfits such as The Foundation for a Drug Free World.

Ongoing Vigilance

The parental role doesn’t end with education – it extends to ongoing vigilance for warning signs. Slang is constantly changing, along with fashions and fads in popular drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse maintains current information on popular drugs, some of which is included below.

• Marijuana is the drug most commonly abused by teens. Some classic slang terms are pot, weed, hash, Mary Jane, grass and reefer. Newer terms include gangster, skunk, sinse and ganja. Some are names for the particular strain, such as Acapulco gold, blue dream, bubba kush, Texas tea or the innocent-sounding Girl Scout cookies.

• MDMA has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It is commonly referred to as ecstasy or Molly, with other names including Adam, Eve, lover’s speed, peace, clarity, X, Stacy and E.

• Prescription opioids (narcotic painkillers) are increasingly being abused by many age groups, not only teens, across the United States. There are many names: Hydrocodone, or Vicodin, is called Vike or Watson-387. Hydromorphone goes by D, dillies, footballs and juice. Oxycodone is called O.C., percs and oxy. Oxymorphone terms include blue heaven, biscuits, Mrs. O and stop signs. Codeine names include Captain Cody, doors and fours, loads, pancakes and syrup, schoolboy and sizzurp or purple drank for codeine cough syrup.

• Prescription stimulants are amphetamines used to treat ADHD. Names include black beauties, the smart drug, vitamin R, truck drivers, crosses, hearts, bennies, skippy, JIF and LA turnaround.

This is a short summary; parents would be well advised to do a more thorough study, and to keep an ear out for other words or terms that sound strange or out of context so they can continue to remain directly involved in the day-to-day lives of their children, and communicate the perils and pitfalls of drug use.