What parents need to know about new drug trends in kids

A new generation of drugs is making it more difficult than ever for parents to identify potential warning signs of drug abuse in children.

Now, drugs are being manufactured and targeted toward kids by using bright colors and household names to disguise their harmful effects.

“Bath salts,” “glass cleaner” and “Skittle parties” are the most common among these new-age drugs, and they are invading the lives of children as young as 9 years old.

To help educate parents on the dangers of these new drugs, anesthesiologist Dr. Yael Varnado sat down with FoxNews.com to explain what these drugs are and how they can harm children.

“They call it glass cleaner and actually manufacture it in a way to suggest it’s not for human consumption,” Varnado said. “So if it’s called bath salts or glass cleaner, then they get around all the legal issues of it.”

Glass cleaner is a white powdery substance, which acts similarly to cocaine or amphetamines. Bath salts are crystalline-like substances, which contain a mixture of mephedron, methylone and MDPV, all designated Schedule 1 controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When reports of these drugs surfaced in 2009, kids were getting them from convenience stores, online and through friends. The DEA caught wind of it and acted quickly to enact temporary bills to stop the production of some of these drugs; however, it wasn’t until July of this year that President Obama signed a bill banning bath salts in the U.S.

Varnado said children between the ages of 9 and 12 are going into their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets to “steal and hoard prescription drugs.” The kids then exchange pills at a party and often take them with alcohol. These so-called "Skittle parties" can have long-lasting consequences because the kids “don’t know what they’re taking.”

The problem with many of these drugs, Varnado explained, is that “we don’t even know what’s in them, so we can’t even tell you what the long-term effects are.”

For younger kids, she added, “we’re seeing brain damage occur similar to a person with schizophrenia, along with hallucinations and learning disabilities.”