Why Do Teens Abuse Over the Counter Medicines?

Commonly Abused OTC Medications

Teenagers often abuse certain over-the-counter medications because of their ability to cause a ‘high’ when taken in large doses. The most commonly abused over-the-counter products contain dextromethorphan, which is available as tablets, capsules, gel caps, lozenges, and syrups. These products are normally used to treat severe coughing. However, teens discovered that they can get high from the medication even if they aren’t ill. Because products containing dextromethorphan are available at pharmacies at affordable prices, teenagers can purchase them on their own since it’s perfectly legal.

Recently teenagers have been purchasing cough and cold medicines over the internet to get dextromethorphan in pure powder form since drinking large amounts of cough syrup has severe negative side effects. The pure powder can be swallowed or snorted and doesn’t cause vomiting like the syrup. Teenagers even have access to information online that helps them calculate how much of the powder they need to consume based on their weight to get high.

Teenagers who don’t want to order online and don’t want to consume cough syrup have been known to purchase Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold, also known as ‘Triple-C’ because it contains 30mg of dextromethorphan. However, taking large doses of Triple-C also causes serious health issues since the medication contains an antihistamine. Other ingredients found in Coricidin products, such as decongestants, expectorants, and pain relievers, could also result in a severe drug overdose.

Other nicknames for dextromethorphan include Dex, Candy, Red Devils, Rojo, Skittles, Velvet, Vitamin D, DM, and C-C-C.

Negative Side Effects of Dextromethorphan

The safe dose of dextromethorphan to take for illness is 15 to 30 milligrams. However, teenagers and other abusers are known to consume as much as 360 milligrams or even more. Taking large doses can result in hallucinations, loss of bodily control, and out-of-body experiences. Other potential side effects include blurred vision, paranoia, nausea, abnormal heartbeat, seizures, brain damage, dizziness, high blood pressure, abdominal discomfort, and possibly death.

Taking dextromethorphan is hazardous if taken in hot environments since the medication can also cause high fevers if taken in large doses. When teenagers take this drug at parties, raves, or dance clubs, they put themselves in danger of hyperthermia. Consuming this drug with alcohol or other drugs enhances the risk of negative side effects and could lead to death.

How to Prevent Teens from Abusing OTC Medicines

Why Teens Abuse Over the Counter MedicinesAlthough there is no definitive way for parents to prevent their children from experimenting with over-the-counter drugs, there are actions they can take to decrease their chances of abusing the medications in their households. Parents can lock their medicine cabinets or keep their OTC medicines in inaccessible places. Parents can also avoid having OTC medicines in their households altogether. If parents do have it in their households, they can keep track of how many tablets are in their bottles or how much liquid is in cough syrup bottles. Parents can also be on the lookout for any strange tablet bottles or any OTC medicine products in their children’s rooms.

Those suffering from substance abuse disorders can seek assistance from an alternative treatment center or a rehabilitation center.

Alternative Treatment Centers in Tennessee

Discovery Place is an alternative treatment center located in Burns, Tennessee, designed to help abusers recover from drug and/or alcohol addiction. We offer various services, such as a 30-Day Alternative Residential Addiction Recovery Program and a Long-Term Alternative Addiction Recovery Program. If you would like more information about our services, call us today at (800) 725-0922.

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