Talk to your kids about the risks of using drugs.


Check websites and see which ones your teen has been visiting. If someone has been researching synthetic drugs, they may have visited, a popular source of information. You can program your browser to block this site or sites that sell synthetic drugs. Try a simple Google search like "best way block websites."


Track purchases made with family credit cards. Sites selling synthetic drugs often accept payment from companies such as AlertPay. Some sellers camouflage their names: showed up on a Star Tribune account as "URT1 Limited."


Watch for packages you didn't order. In test purchases conducted by the Star Tribune, foreign packages carried misleading customs labels such as "eye lashes," "gift" and "herbal supplement."


Synthetic drugs are often sold in foil packets or small glass jars. You may find traces of white powder, dried residue or ash.


Warning signs include new friends, increased secrecy about activities or possessions and more borrowing of money.


Bath salts and other synthetics don't show up on most standard tests, so don't be misled if your child has passed one. If you want to test at home, companies are selling kits that can supposedly detect the presence of some chemicals used in bath salts and synthetic pot.

Source: Staff research