Cloud 9 is a legal, synthetic drug gaining popularity among teens. What do you, as a parent, need to know to protect your child from the dangerous effects of this drug?
What is Cloud 9? The drug is a relatively new form of the group of unregulated designer drugs that goes by the slang term "bath salts." They are available in solid or liquid forms and are readily available in tobacco, e-cig, and convenience stores, as well as online.
The Inquisitr reported recently on the legality of the dangerous drug, which has already sent nearly two dozen teens to hospitals in Michigan alone this year -- and its use is gaining popularity in high schools in many other parts of the country, as reported by Tampa Bay, Florida local news outlet WTSP.
Cloud 9 contains a strong chemical called methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), which is many times more powerful than cocaine or meth. According to Sober Living By the Sea, a substance abuse treatment center, MDPV contains structural similarities to pyrovalerone and MDMA which is the active ingredient in ecstasy.
Although available in solid and liquid forms, the most common form of the drug, according to NBC News, is a clear liquid, sold in a small dropper bottle similar to those in which e-cig liquid is sold. It is sometimes labeled "Hookah Relax." Users often put the liquid in an e-cigarette for consumption, but it can also be mixed in drinks or added to food or gum.
The drug is also available in a powdered form, which can be snorted.
Teens are especially prone to using Cloud 9, because of the easy access to it. But the legality doesn't minimize the danger. And unfortunately, the drug does not show up in a standard drug urine test, so its use can be difficult to detect. As a parent, it pays to know the signs and symptoms of Cloud 9 use.
According to inhalent.org, The immediate effects of Cloud 9 mimic symptoms of cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine, and ecstasy use and include nausea, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, chest pain, irritability, dizziness, nosebleeds, and delusions. Users may also experience impaired impulse control and violent behavior.
A teen using Cloud 9 may exhibit the classic signs of drug abuse. They may have drastically changed behavior, showing signs of depression, social withdraw, or violence. Teens may also begin neglecting responsibilities at home, work, and school, stealing money from home, or get into trouble with the law.
If you notice any of these changes in your teen's behavior, seek medical help or counseling as soon as possible.
[Image via NBC News]