Prevalence of teen over-the-counter
of illicit drugs has decreased over the years, use of over-the-counter (OTC)
medications has increased. From 1999 to 2004, there was a
seven-fold increase in reported cases of overdoses related to the abuse of
dextromethorphan (DXM), for example, the ingredient most commonly found in over-the-counter
cough and cold medications. Most of these cases involved 15 and 16-year-olds. Overdoses
of acetaminophen, an analgesic painkiller found in DXM-based remedies,
reportedly cause more than 56,000 emergency room visits a year.
Teens seek OTC drugs for the highs and dissociative states they produce, and can
easily obtain them via the family medicine cabinet. Teens’ common belief that it is safer to use
OTC drugs than illicit drugs also contributes to rampant abuse.
For information on how to prevent teen OTC drug abuse, please click here.
Signs of teen OTC abuse.
exhibit various behavioral changes when abusing over-the-counter drugs,
including moodiness, staying up late, difficulty getting up in the morning and changes in friends. Teens who are abusing OTC’s will often
visit Internet drug sites that explain how to obtain and use OTC drugs to get
high and raid the family’s supply of medications.
Dangers and effects of OTC abuse.
of over-the-counter drugs vary greatly, but each can cause death if used
incorrectly. Mixing OTC drugs is particularly dangerous, as incompatible
ingredients produce severe side effects such as nausea, dizziness, a dangerous
drop in blood pressure, hallucinations, seizures, an irregular or fast
heartbeat, brain damage and buildup of toxins in the body that can damage the
heart or liver.
Treating teen OTC drug abuse.
involvement is essential to the
treatment of OTC drug addiction.
To get help for your teen, please
get in touch.