These days, everything is captured on video, especially when it comes to young people. Many of these videos are shared on TikTok and other social media platforms. While some of these videos may include innocent dance trends and jokes, numerous others come in the form of dangerous challenges, including drug use. Many young people take these challenges to gain views and social media clout, not recognizing the dangers of TikTok challenges and drug use.
Let’s take a look at these trends and how parents can stay vigilant about drug use in their children.
The Dangers of TikTok Challenges and Drug Use
One of the crucial things to realize regarding TikTok challenges and drugs is that some involve over-the-counter medications. This may be one of the reasons why adolescents don’t see the danger in trying these challenges for social media attention. But these can prove to be deadly, such as “The Benadryl Challenge.”
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“The Benadryl Challenge” dares TikTok users to take large amounts of the over-the-counter medication. While taken as directed, Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can relieve allergy symptoms. But, when taken in larger quantities than indicated, it can lead to seizures and cardiac arrest.1 Unexplained drowsiness, hallucinations, dilated pupils, and disorientation are some of the other side effects when teens try this challenge. Other symptoms include blurred vision and dry mouth.2
A 15-year-old Oklahoma girl died in 2020 after taking this TikTok challenge. Three teens in Texas were also hospitalized after they reportedly took 14 pills at once.1 The standard dosage is 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours.
Other Ways TikTok Promotes Drug Use
Besides challenges, other TikTok trends promote illicit drug use. Many users post videos with #triptok where users will document their use of hallucinogenic drugs. Users can be seen taking drugs like ketamine and ecstasy while recording their experiences. Many think these videos are funny as they and others watch how the drugs made them feel and react.
Statistics show that plenty of people are watching these videos with more than 20 million views.3 With this large number of viewers, there are concerns that videos like these are exposing young children to drug use and encouraging it by making it appear entertaining.3 The videos don’t show the dangers of using these and other types of drugs.
Although TikTok’s guidelines prohibit drug abuse-related content, it still exists on the platform. This is mainly due to users coming up with creative hashtags to disguise what is going on.
Signs of Drug Use in Teens
Teens and adolescents may not see the dangers of these TikTok challenges and trends. However, the Centers for Disease Control warns that when teens start to use drugs at a young age, it can lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure as well as hinder brain development.4 Therefore, parents need to be aware of the signs of drug use in teens. This way, they can get their child the help they need before it’s too late.
Some common signs of drug use to look for include:5
- Change in behavior
- New friends
- Violent behavior
- Poor judgment
- Lack of motivation
- Change in appearance
If you notice any of these things in your teen, don’t ignore them. They could be signs of a larger problem, one that needs professional help. Ignoring these problems can lead to prolonged drug abuse if they are using drugs and put your child in dangerous situations.
It’s also important to be aware of what your child is doing on social media and the TikTok trends we mentioned. Some parental controls can help parents monitor what their child may be posting on the site.
Get Help at Desert Cove Recovery
If you think your teen or loved one is using drugs and may have a substance abuse disorder, Desert Cove Recovery is here to help. Our experienced team of professionals is ready to help them overcome their drug use with a customized treatment plan. Reach out to us online and let us help your loved one get on the path to recovery.