In a blink of an eye, it’s already OCTOBER! I still can’t believe it! This month marks a very important month – National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Given the prevalence and open acceptance lately of secondary uses for medications, this topic couldn’t be more relevant. Approximately 1 in 20 teens reports abusing excessive amounts of Dextromethorphan (DXM), a key ingredient in cough medicines, to get high. One in 3 knows someone who has abused cough medicine to get high. It’s so easy for a teen to feel comfortable about abusing cough medicine when they rationalize that it’s just cough medicine. Many, when asked, would not consider this drug abuse.
The first step in preventing this abuse is to EDUCATE yourself and your family. Have a conversation with your child. Data shows that what parents say does matter. Teens who learn about the risk of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs. While DXM is generally a safe and effective ingredient found in many over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines, when abused, DXM can cause side effects including mild distortions of color and sound, hallucinations, and loss of motor control.
- TALK with your teen about the dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse and monitor your medicine cabinets.
- LISTEN to the language your kids use. DXM is often referred to as skittling, tussin, robo-tripping, CCC, triple Cs, and dexing
- LOOK for signs:
- empty cough medicine bottles/boxes in the trash of your child’s room, backpack, or school locker.
- loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
- changes in friends, physical appearance, sleeping, or eating patterns
- declining grades
Not sure how to have the conversation? Log onto www.stopmedicineabuse.org for more information, conversation starters and useful resources.
Follow @StopMedAbuse and the hashtag and join the Twitter Party with Mom It Forward on Tuesday October 1 from 9-10pm eastern time #gno #NotMyTeen. We’ll be talking about raising kids with character.