October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month – and as you can probably tell by my big image in this post, it’s a topic that I feel needs to grab more public attention. Did you know approximately 1 in 30 teens, or approximately one child in every high school class has abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high?
As parents, many of us grew up being taught to stay out of the medicine cabinet, but probably inaccurately assumed that cough medicine was relatively harmless since it’s over the counter. Check out these bullet points below that specifically provide a better understanding of why it has become an abused substance:
- DXM, or Dextromethorphan, is the active ingredient in most OTC cough medicines and some teens abuse DXM to get high, taking up to 25 times or more of the recommended dose.
- DXM is an active ingredient in over 100 cough and cold medicines. It is safe when used according to the Drug Facts label.
- When abused, DXM can cause side effects including vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and loss of motor control.
Stopping Medicine Abuse Starts at Home
I’m proudly supporting the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign to spread the word among parents. Aimed at raising an awareness around the abuse of cough medicines by teens, I try to tie it back to having toddlers and young kids in the home. When we all start out as parents, we try to protect our littles by baby-proofing the rooms and minimizing risks and dangers. As they grow and become more mobile, it’s important to transition our homes to provide safer storage of OTC medicine. What else can parents do this month?
- Be on the look out for the PARENTS icon on packages of cough and cold medicines this cold and flu season to be aware of medicines that contain DXM.
- Feel free to share the image directly below for other parents to learn more about www.StopMedicineAbuse.org during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Let’s help spread the word.
My own 2 cents: my kids are still quite young, but whenever they’ve had to take medicine, I’ve often explained that although it may taste good (such as grape-flavored cough medicine or fruity vitamins), it is not candy. One suggestion I have is to play while explaining that medicine helps us, but we have to be careful with it and explain it in age-appropriate terms. An oven can hurt us if we touch it when hot, medicine isn’t like food, and we only can take a certain amount to make us feel better (and only a grown up can offer it). With her doll, I put out a few M&M’s and pretended that her doll wanted to pick them up and eat them because they looked like candy. My daughter jumped in to tell her doll, “don’t touch what you don’t know” and I reaffirmed that we wouldn’t eat what we don’t know, too. I’d love to hear more suggestions on raising awareness on medicine abuse and ways you teach safe storage of OTC medication in your home. After all, it takes a village.
I’m proud to join the conversation and empower parents as a blogging ambassador with the CHPA (Consumer Health Products Association) Educational Foundation and KnowYourOTCs.org. This is a sponsored post. While I have received compensation by the CHPA Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs, my opinions are my own.