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Kids Use Kitchen Items for Risky Games and Highs

The Role of Holiday Stress

Besides the free time and lack of structure, the holidays can be times of stress and emotional tumult for children and teens. "They may be more upset and anxious and more likely to explore or self-medicate," says Scott Krakower, DO. He is the medical director of the Mineola Community Treatment Center at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Mineola, N.Y.

Parents should move the spices to higher cabinets and secure all over-the-counter and prescription pills, he says.

Parents should also be aware of the risks of fake marijuana products such as Spice or K2. "Children are more likely to explore with these, especially if parents have made their thoughts about marijuana clear," he says. These drugs don't show up in many standard urine screens either.

Harris Stratyner, PhD, says that parents must also be concerned about alcohol and prescription drug abuse among children and teens. Stratyner is the vice president of the New York Clinical Regional Services of Caron Treatment Centers.

"Alcohol and prescription drugs are killing us, and when we talk about cinnamon and other spices, it takes us away from serious issues," he says. "Parents need to make sure dentists and physicians don't overprescribe painkillers for wisdom teeth or other illnesses."

Parents also must watch for changes in their kids' behavior and ask where they are going and who they are going with. "Be parents, not buddies," Stratyner says. "Set guidelines and boundaries."

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