Throughout the month of October we’re inundated with causes that increase our awareness about various issues but one campaign that families should take time to learn about is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Stop Medicine Abuse is a prevention campaign funded by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and their goal is to alert parents and community members of the dangers of teens abusing over the counter cough medicines.
Abusing cough medicines? It may sound crazy and while you might think your child will never be involved in such behavior, one in 3 knows someone who has abused cough medicine to get high. Approximately 1 in 20 teens reports abusing excessive amounts of DXM to get high. What is DXM? Dextromethorphan (DXM) is 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.
Instead of falsely believing that is something your child won’t ever do, start by educating yourself through the information and resources that can be found at www.stopmedicineabuse.org.
The site is full of helpful information including conversation starters that will help you talk to your kids about this difficult topic. It’s one of those topics that isn’t easy to bring up but data shows that what parents say does matter and teens who learn about the risk of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs. By taking time to talk with your teen about the dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse and monitor your medicine cabinets, they are less likely to engage in such risky behavior.
What else can parents do to stop medicine abuse?
- Listen to the language your kids use. DXM is often referred to as skittling, tussin, robo-tripping, CCC, triple Cs, and dexing
- Take a look at the warning signs identified by Stop Medicine Abuse such as 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, and declining grades.
- Join the Mom it Forward Stop Medicine Abuse Twitter party tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/1) from 9-10 pm EST to better educate yourself. Follow @StopMedAbuse @jylmomIF @Dadventurous @troypattee and @MomItForward and the hashtags #gno and #NotMyTeen
I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program. All the opinions reflected here are my own and based on my experiences. Images courtesy of OTCSafety.org.