Teen drug use resulted in a 17 year old violin prodigy’s tragic death. 

Katya Tsukanova had performed in renowned venues from the Royal Opera House in London to Carnegie Hall. She was an award-winning violinist with plans to continue developing as a musician. She had a promising performance career and a bright future, but her future was shortcut by a drug overdose in her family home that resulted in her death. 

Despite her immense talent, Katya had a history of partying and some reported substance abuse.The party drug, Calvin Klein, was found in Tsukanova’s system and determined to be the cause of death. 

Party drugs are often polydrugs, which mean they are compounds of drugs. Calvin Klein, in particular, is a combination of cocaine and ketamine. Cocaine is a stimulant while ketamine has sedative effects, which create a high similar to ecstasy/MDMA – potentially, to lethal effect.

The most common place to find people using Calvin Klein is in night clubs or raves, which creates a unique setting where people who may not be habitual drug users will experiment with dangerous drugs. The subculture represented here can be very appealing to teenagers and may be the place they are first introduced to party drugs. Studies show that teens who attend raves are 35.5% more likely to use drugs other than marijuana, compared to teens who don’t attend raves.

How Common is Teen Drug Use?

Teen drug use during high school is a dangerous phenomenon that can set an adolescent up for a lifetime of substance abuse and addiction, if not addressed properly. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2017, teens reported the following:

  • 36% of adolescents have used marijuana 
  • 6% of teens have used inhalants to get high
  • 5% of high school students have used cocaine

Starting in May 2004, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has placed a high emphasis on the need for prevention services surrounding club drug use and culture. Common drugs that continue to be used in the nightclub scene, include LSD, methamphetamine, ketamine and ecstasy. Combinations of these drugs into polydrugs are popularized by branding elements, as in the example of Calvin Klein. Branding these substances as fun and exciting appeals to teens, turning the use of polydrugs into trends.

Experts say that Calvin Klein has even been connected to a higher risk of HIV in addition to other immunosuppressive conditions. Symptoms of Calvin Klein mirror those of ecstasy and may include:

  • Jerking or twitching uncontrollably
  • Headache
  • Confusion or feeling disoriented
  • Lockjaw
  • Swings in body temperature
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Digestion issues including excessive vomiting
  • High blood pressure

Death by overdosing on drugs like Calvin Klein may result from the body overheating, cardiac arrest or a seizure.

Teen Substance Abuse Solutions

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 4,010 teens received substance abuse treatment between the ages of 12 and 17 in 2017. Compared to the statistics of teens who have self-reported substance abuse, this number may indicate that many teens who need treatment are not receiving it. This could be due to a variety of factors:

  • Teenagers may not admit that they have a problem and claim they are only experimenting or partying like everyone else.
  • Teenagers may not understand the severity of their condition and feel like they can quit anytime they want to stop.
  • Teenagers may naturally withdrawal from authorities or parents who can provide help for them.

It is vital that teens who are struggling with substance abuse get help before it becomes worse. Because teens are in a vulnerable stage of development, they may lack risk assessment abilities that keep them from taking drug use too far. Accidental overdoses may partly result from misunderstanding the risk of taking drugs. 

Teens may also be less likely to investigate or verify the source or contents of the drug they consume. Drugs like Calvin Klein are not regulated in any form. If taken at a party with friends, or in a club or rave setting, teenagers may not question where the drugs came from or how potent they are. This ignorance can lead to consumption of unknown drugs in unknown quantities, which can be fatal.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use or addiction, it is important to access local resources to find help.