For almost two years I worked in a substance abuse unit for a juvenile detention center. Most of the kids we got in our program were using weed, but there was that occasional other breed that had moved beyond the realms of weed and started experimenting with the other half.
I have also witnessed the effects of the drugs of choice on every other unit in our facility. I watched as juveniles as young as 9 came into the facility high on some sort of drug. I have had to assist with getting them restrained in every manner including a 4-point bed restraint. None of it was pretty. I watched as children went through the DTs from meth, heroin, and anything else in between.
Besides the kids who had found the wonderful destructive drug of meth, the children who had found the great high of paint were far worse. As Jack said, there is always this perma-smile on their face. I remember having several children come through our program. You would ask them a smile question such as what is your name...and then you would count off in your head...one, two, three and upon reaching 10 and sometimes 20, Johnny would finally raise his head, give you this smile, and answer your question.
And in one lobe of your mind, you kind of giggled, but you realized that was probably the only lobe that child had left. And then you realized the sad of it all. He was forever in a world of his own and probably never going to amount to much.
So when you parents sit your child down to talk about the realm of drugs, don't forget the over the counter drugs of the hardware store. We had kids that huffed the paint, but they also preferred gasoline, carburetor fluid, and pretty much anything else. But of the paint--silver and gold were tops on the list.
If I had to list the top drugs that kill the brain cells and body the quickest of our youth:
1. Ecstasy-we watched a video that showed whole lobes missing from a girl's brain
2. Paint-watched it in person
3. Meth-observed a child incarcerated over and over and the effects it did to him
4. Heroin-numerous times I watched the children hooked on this return to our facility