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What Parents Need To Know About OTC Drug Abuse
Parenting a teenager has never been an easy proposition and the rising popularity of prescription and over the counter (OTC) drug abuse makes this difficult endeavor all the more challenging. But constant vigilance and continued education remain the primary tools for raising a healthy child. Parents need to know all that they can about the emerging threat of OTC drug abuse. This step alone will put parents in the best position to stop their children from making the wrong choice, or in getting them the treatment they need if they have already taken their first steps down this dangerous path of OTC drug addiction. Parents need to know that one of the fastest growing trends in teen drug use today is the abuse of over the counter drugs. Teens are abusing some OTC drugs, such as cough and cold remedies to get high. Many of these products are widely available and can be purchased at supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience marts. Parents need to know that many OTC drugs that are intended to treat headaches, sinus pressure, or cold symptoms contain the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM). These over the counter cold products containing DXM are the most popular OTC drugs that teen's abuse. When taken in high doses, DXM can produce a "high" feeling and can be extremely dangerous in excessive amounts. Parents need to know that teens can also get OTC drugs from ordering them over the Internet. And even if they do not order OTC drugs online, parents need to know that their child can surf the Web to find information and videos on what drugs to try and mix together. Parents need to know that one of the biggest problems with curbing teen OTC drug use is the fact that so few teens know about the dangers. Drug education programs focus mainly on illegal drugs and, likewise, parents tend to focus on the same, not even giving the abuse over the counter drugs a thought.
Parents need to know that teens often abuse OTC drugs to get high, taking very large doses and sometimes mixing these drugs with prescription drugs, or alcohol. Some teens crush pills and snort them for an intensified effect. Mixing alcohol with certain over the counter medications can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, and loss of coordination. It can put users at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. Parents need to know about the short term and long term side effects of OTC drug abuse. Some of the common short-term side effects of OTC drug abuse are impaired judgment, nausea, loss of coordination, headache, vomiting, loss of consciousness, numbness of fingers and toes, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, aches, seizures, panic attacks, psychosis, euphoria, cold flashes, dizziness, and diarrhea. Long-term effects of OTC drug abuse may include restlessness, insomnia, high-blood pressure, coma, or even death. The point at which teens may overdose on OTC drugs varies depending on the amount of the drugs they took, over what time period, and if other drugs were mixed. Parents need to know that some OTC drugs cause minor distress, while others are very strong and can cause more serious problems including death. Parents should know that if they suspect their teen has overdosed from abusing OTC drugs, that they should take them to the emergency room or call an ambulance immediately for proper care and treatment. If a parent knows that their teenager is abusing OTC drugs, they should put them in a drug treatment program before they have the possibility of an overdose.
Some parents who discover that their child is using OTC drugs feel relieved that it's not a "serious" problem, like alcohol or marijuana. Parents need to know that OTC drugs can be just as dangerous when they are being abused. In general, parents should trust their instincts. If you feel your child has a problem with drugs, they very well might. Parents should talk to the child and find out how serious the OTC abuse has become. Parents should know that their teen may become very defensive, and this sign alone indicates guilt. When it comes to teens and OTC drug addiction, the most important thing a parent needs to know is that a drug rehab treatment center is the best possible option for recovery.