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Risky Substance Affects Norwalk Teens

Last Friday, December 3rd, 2021, emergency services transported two Norwalk teens to the hospital after they became ill from vaping an unknown substance. As

of Tuesday afternoon, the devices used by the teens are still being tested at a lab to identify the substances involved.


This incident is a reminder that any substance can be contaminated with other products. There is no safe use of illicit substances. In particular, CT has recently received national attention for 39 overdoses this fall where individuals who were using marijuana had to be revived because the product was laced with fentanyl, an opioid that is many times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl is now being found in all types of illicit drugs and is available in counterfeit forms, made to look like prescription drugs such as Xanax. (Learn more at www.youthinkyouknowct.org)


In The Norwalk Partnership’s June 2021 youth survey, the vast majority of Norwalk teens were not using substances during COVID. However, anecdotal reports from the high schools indicate that vaping and dabbing may now be increasing.


Youth whose families send them strong anti-drug messages are much less likely to use drugs. The Norwalk Partnership strongly encourages parents to talk to their children about substances, risks and alternatives. Visit www.thenorwalkpartnership.org for resources on vaping, marijuana, and other issues, including where to go for help. At school, students can visit their School-Based Health Center for support.


What is vaping? Is it the same as dabbing?


Vaping is an umbrella term that refers to ingesting “vaporized” chemicals. The earliest vapes were e-cigarettes, used as an alternative to cigarettes to ingest nicotine in aerosol form.


Teens today use the term dabbing specifically to refer to inhaling cannabis (marijuana), while they use vaping to refer to inhaling nicotine-based products.

Both dabbing and vaping are dangerous for the lungs because the user ingests a large number of chemicals directly into the lungs.


Dabbing involves inhaling concentrated THC—the chemical in marijuana that affects the brain and creates the “high.” Dabs can be close to pure THC: 70% to 90% or even more.


At levels above 10% THC, marijuana is associated with addiction, mental illness, psychosis, and even suicide. There is now a new diagnosis of Cannabis-Induced Psychosis, with CT DPH reporting a 300% increase in hospital admissions for psychosis between 2016 and 2019.

In 2018, the US Surgeon General warned about the dangers of marijuana for teens because it affects brain development. Teens who use marijuana a few times a week can lose up to 8 IQ points. That’s why marijuana in any form is not legal for anyone under age 21. Vaping is also illegal before age 21.



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