KINGMAN - Their names may sound exotic and alluring, but the punch behind the drugs trending among teenagers across the U.S. and even in Mohave County is dangerous and potentially lethal.
That's why parents need to keep themselves informed about drugs such as Spice, Salvia, Krokodil, Gravel, Molly, Kratom, N-Bomb and Dragon Fly, said Debi LaVergne, a drug recognition expert from Chandler. Many are more potent and easier to get than some of the older and more well-known drugs.
"Parents need to be educated and stay current so they can let their kids know what's out there," said LaVergne. "They need to talk to their kids about drugs and have those important conversations. But a lot of them don't want to because it's uncomfortable.
"That excuse is just not good enough anymore."
LaVergne, an instructional specialist at the University of Arizona and a former Scottsdale police officer, spoke to about 40 parents, community workers and educators recently during a Current Drug Trends and Identification seminar at Kingman High School. She also met with the freshman class at the school.
The seminar provided information on current drug trends, including illegal substances, new designer drugs, synthetics, over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Discussion included signs and symptoms of drug use for parents to look for, as well as effective prevention strategies.
Also, LaVergne described where students hide drugs, how they disguise them and paraphernalia, teen drug language, the prescription pill epidemic among teens and ways parents can help their teens stay away from drugs so they don't derail their school years. She brought along a table filled with gadgets teens use to smoke, take and hide their drugs.
Spice, one name for what's sometimes called "synthetic marijuana," is often sold as incense but can cause a wide range of adverse reactions if smoked.
Salvia's effects are intense but short lasting. Krokodil, an alternative to heroin, is eight to 10 times more potent than morphine, and the hallucinogenic Gravel is highly addictive.
Most Molly pills are a combination of ecstasy and crack, cocaine, methamphetamine or bath salts, said LaVergne. In large doses, Kratom is a hallucinogenic causing nervousness, while several deaths in Arizona have been linked to N-Bomb, also a hallucinogen.
Dragon Fly is an extremely potent psychedelic stimulant drug, added LaVergne.
Linda Jablonski, a parent of senior and junior girls at Kingman High School, said she attended the seminar to learn more about the newest drug trends and how to protect her children. Jablonski also is a school nurse at Black Mountain School.
"Knowledge is power," said Jablonski. "My kids say they make good decisions, but they're typical of teenagers and take risks that they don't even realize they're taking. I want them to hear about drugs from me first, but I'm not up to date enough about the new trends.
"The more I know, the more I can tell them and help them prepare for what's out there."