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Sonic Drugs a New Threat to Teens?

A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh and Dartmouth University suggests that music can influence teens’ decision to use drugs and alcohol. Teens listening to rap, R&B and hip hop can expect to hear three brand-name alcohol references per hour, potentially leading to teen alcohol abuse and other risky behaviors.

But can music itself get teens high? Some experts say yes. Known as sonic drugs, or i-dosing, some websites claim that listening to a specific type of sound can make someone feel high. Users choose from a menu of single drugs or “packs,” which range from a few dollars to almost $200. Sonic drug options include marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, hallucinogens and prescription drugs.

An i-dosing session consists of two slightly different static-like tones played in both ears at the same time. After a few minutes of i-dosing, users reportedly feel a high similar to recreational drugs, or at least some degree of light-headedness and mild euphoria. Thousands of users have posted videos online documenting their sonic drug experiences, most of which seem characterized by confusion.

Sonic drugs, or sound therapy, are purportedly effective in treating anxiety and boosting mental faculties, though skeptics question their effectiveness. Even if sonic drugs are not harmful or all that effective in getting teens the high they seek, a number of addiction experts raise a bigger concern: Teens who are curious enough to experiment with i-dosing are likely going to graduate to real drugs sooner or later.

Research shows that sonic drugs do have an effect on the brain, alternating between calming and exciting brain waves.  Although short- and long-term effects of sonic drugs aren’t fully understood, experts warn that anything that impacts children and teenagers’ developing brains could be dangerous.

As with all drugs, experts advise parents to speak with their children openly and frequently about the new drug dangers they may face in school and among their peers.  If a teen is tempted to try sonic drugs, it’s time to talk more seriously about all types of teen drug abuse and the associated risks.

Posted on November 11th, 2011
Posted in Teens

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