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Drug Abuse

Do You Know About This Icon That Can Help You Prevent Teen Medicine Abuse?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 20, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Stop Medicine Campaign

Parents are very perceptive… They pick up on almost everything and are always on the lookout. Common warning signs such as “No Trespassing” or “Caution” are signs that parents all look for to keep their children safe. But only 21% of parents know about this small warning icon:


1 in 30 teens has abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan (also known as “DXM”) to get high. While recent survey results indicate a decline in this risky behavior, it is still happening so we must continue to fight it.

Teens may mistakenly believe that since OTC cough medicines are readily available and legal, they are a safer way to get high than abusing prescription or illicit drugs, which is incorrect. While DXM is a safe and effective ingredient when taken according to the labeling instructions, teens will sometimes consume excessive amounts—at times ingesting 25 times the recommended dosage—in order to feel the effects.

This can lead to dangerous side effects such as blurred vision and decreased physical coordination. Not to mention additional side effects that can result from having too much of other active ingredients in the medicines, or from mixing DXM with alcohol or energy drinks.

While it’s difficult to think about our own children partaking in medicine abuse, we all need to be aware of this problem in order to prevent it. We should know:

The first step in preventing teen over-the-counter medicine abuse is becoming aware. That’s where the Stop Medicine Abuse icon comes in. Go to your medicine cabinet and check your shelf to see how many products you currently have in your home that include the icon. Take note of the quantity of each and be sure to check back often so you can more quickly notice if medicine goes missing without explanation. When shopping, if you see the icon on the packaging of cough medicine, you know that the product contains DXM and is one you should keep an eye on.

You can find more information on our website, including resources for spreading the word to others in your community. The more people who know about this problem, the more equipped we’ll be to help stop it.

Stop Medicine Abuse is a prevention campaign working to alert parents and members of the community about the problem of teen abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM). You can learn more by visiting the Stop Medicine Abuse website or connecting with the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Missing Medicine? It Could Be a Sign of Medicine Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 26, 2017  /   Posted in Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens

Does the scenario highlighted in the video below seem familiar?

I hope not, but the reality is that missing medicine could be a sign of over-the-counter (OTC) medicine abuse. It’s common to hear about teens abusing illegal drugs, alcohol and even prescription medication to get high, but many parents don’t realize that teens may also abuse OTC cough medicine.

If this is news to you, you may be wondering, why would teens abuse OTC cough medicine?

Teens often abuse OTC cough medicine because it’s affordable and easy to access. They may also mistakenly believe that it’s safer to abuse than illegal drugs.

The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent your teen from abusing OTC cough medicine.

Educate yourself.

The first step is education. Learn about dextromethorphan (DXM), the active ingredient in most OTC cough medicines. Learn how to identify which products contain DXM by looking for the Stop Medicine Abuse icon. Become familiar with what DXM abuse looks like.

Monitor.

In addition to being on the lookout for missing medicine, it is also important to monitor your teen’s behavior for warning signs and side effects including:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Hostile and uncooperative attitude
  • Use of slang terms
  • Changes in friends
  • Declining grades
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion, slurred speech and disorientation

Communicate with your teen.

Have a conversation with your teen about the risks of medicine abuse. Ask your teen if he or she has ever been exposed to DXM abuse or whether it’s something that’s discussed amongst peers. The reality is that one out of three teenagers knows someone who has abused OTC cough medicine to get high. That’s scary to think about, but teens who learn about the risks of substance abuse from their parents are 50 percent less likely to use drugs.

Share what you’ve learned.

It’s also important to communicate with other parents, teachers and community members to spread awareness. These conversations can be had at sports games, school activities or parent events to help inspire other parents to become vigilant against cough medicine abuse.

Parents can’t protect their teenagers from all the dangers of the world, but with education, close monitoring and a supportive community… parents can prevent OTC medicine abuse.

You can get more information at StopMedicineAbuse.org or join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

Contributor: Anita Brikman joined the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) in 2016 and leads the association’s communications and public affairs functions. As a member of the senior management team, she is responsible for establishing and directing the organization’s communications strategies and goals. Anita is passionate about healthcare issues, with over two decades of experience as a news anchor and health reporter in major television markets – making medicine abuse awareness and prevention efforts important to her. She is also the mother of three teenagers.

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Heroin: What Parents Don’t Talk About

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 24, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Heroin and Teens

Help Your Teens ParentTeen Heroin: What Parents Don't Talk About Not my teen, it’s only marijuana.  It’s only prescription drugs.  It’s only….

That’s the way it usually starts.  One of the biggest misconceptions of heroin addicts, especially with teens and young people is that they are from bad neighborhoods, possibly homeless, and typically don’t have families that care for them.

According to the latest studies, heroin use is reaching epidemic proportions, moving away from the inner-city and into the suburbs, bringing along its deadly consequences.

Parents can sometimes be late to the game when they finally wake-up to admitting their child has a problem.  Heroin addiction is deadly.  Heroin addiction is growing and heroin is becoming more and more available to your  teenagers.  It’s cheaper, not only financially – but a cheap high too.

Drug use and abuse is not what it was when you were in school or in college.  If you continue to tell yourself that, it’s a mistake that you may regret.  This is not about creating fear into parents, but it’s about educating you.  Dealers on the street don’t want you to understand this – however knowing what is going to be available to your teen can help you talk to them about the risks and how things have changed since the 60’s and 70’s.

Help Your Teens heroinfoil1-300x219 Heroin: What Parents Don't Talk About So what do they consider the gateway to heroin?

According to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

In March 2015 another study was released revealing the death rate related to heroin overdose among young white men  (as young as 18 years old) was the highest in the Midwest.

Back in 2010 ABC News 20/20 ran a series on The New Faces of Heroin (watch the 8 minute part-one segment below).  It was extremely compelling.  If you believe that it can’t happen in your family, think again.  No one is immune.  Drug dealers don’t discriminate.  As a matter of fact, your teen may be the perfect catch for them.  Social media has added a new platform for them to connect with your child.  Don’t make the mistake that your teen would never do that.  It only takes one bad day, one bad break-up, or maybe they are being harassed and you don’t know about it.

Take the time to have those conversations.  You never know when you are potentially saving your child from making the biggest mistake of their lives.

Do you suspect your teen is using drugs?  Is it escalating out of control?  Have you exhausted your local resources?  It might be time for residential therapy.  Contact us for more information.  Don’t be a parent in denial.

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