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Starter Drug

New drug "cheese" is dubbed a starter drug



Let's Stop the violence! 

See how KEYS can help!!

Assessing the Potentially Dangerous Student TtT

Cheese. No, not the healthy dairy product but a brownish powder in a folded scrap of note book paper. At least one death is attributed to this new craze among high school and middle school students.

In the Dallas, Texas Independent School District there have been 71 reported cases involving students using or selling "cheese" this school year. What makes cheese so serious is that it is base on an old drug, heroin. It is a combination of an over the counter cold medication such as Tylenol PM with an active ingredient of acetaminophen diphenhydramine HCI and heroin which may be from 1%-8% pure.

It is attractive to younger students because it produce a euphoria and costs only about $2 per hit. Each hit is one tenth of a gram. (To help visualize the size, divide the sweetener contained in a single serving packet into ten parts.) The most common method of ingesting the drug is to snort it, either directly or with aid of a straw or tube.

The problem is that heroin is very addictive. Quite often with a single dose. In fact, withdrawal symptom can follow a hit as soon as 12 hours later. The headaches, chills, nausea and other discomforts causes the user to seek another hit to escape the pain. Thus the cycle of hardcore addiction has "started." Police in the Dallas area have dubbed cheese as a starter drug.

Starter DrugHere is what you should look for:


  • Tan-brown powder

  • Typically folded into notebook paper

  • One hit, $2; one quarter-gram, $5

  • Pushers: Older teens

  • Users: So far, only Hispanic middle and high school kids, as young as 13 years of age

  • Effect: Euphoria, disorientation, lethargy, sleepiness, hunger

  • Desire: Cheese is highly addictive. Withdrawal symptoms may onset as soon as within 12 hrs

  • Withdrawal symptoms: Headache, chills, muscle pains, muscle spasms, anxiety, agitation

  • How it's taken: Snorted into the nose, sometimes by using a tube (like snorting cocaine)

  • Many users have attempted to quit but are overwhelmed by the physical withdrawal symptoms and return to regular use within one to three days

Since the principle ingredient is an opiate, the drug testing materials offered by Keys can be used to detect the use of cheese. The Saliva Based testers can be used in public places, without regard to gender and eliminates both privacy and health issues involved in handling urine samples.

The death in Dallas associated with Cheese may have happened because the student was also drinking alcohol. This further highlights the dangerous nature of this drug. Students do not understand that heroin or other drugs should never be taken in combination with alcohol. Unfortunately, the incidents of alcohol among students is growing and the age is dropping. Several studies show that by age 13 about 30% of students have consumed alcohol and by the 11th grade, that number has consumed alcohol on school grounds with about 24% reporting being drunk at school. Keys offers a saliva based alcohol tester. These simple strips can detect accurately Blood Alcohol Levels by testing saliva. Though not intended for direct testing they can also detect the presence of alcohol in a beverage.

If your school needs help in establishing  policy or implementing procedures for a positive drug abatement program contact Keys To Safer today for assistance from the Multi-disciplinary Team.

  • To Learn How "Keys To Safer Schools" Can Help.
  • Learning what to look for - "Early Warning Signs"
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