Thank you to Klean Treatment Center for this guest post!
A group of mothers have taken it into their own hands to spread the word about a lesser known kind of drug abuse among teens; over-the-counter medicine abuse.
Tammy Walsh, who has a son in recovery from OTC medicine abuse, has come forward to use her experiences to help others. Welsh hopes to be an inspiration so people stand up and speak out about OTC abuse. A group called, The Five Moms, is the group that Welsh advocates for. They travel the country making people and parents aware of the risks and dangers of OTC drug abuse. They teach entire communities about abusing cough medicine, how parents should approach their teens, how to monitor medications, and the true scope of the problem.
Welsh says the most important things for parents to remember is never to lecture teens as they will tune you out. Rather help them make healthy decisions. Start talking to kids early on and don’t be afraid to bring the subject up. Teach your kids how to say no and give them every tool needed to do so. Be clear about the health risks associated with drug abuse.
Welsh says that parents must know how to spot the signs of abuse. They need to know what to look for, some of the slang, and a change in habits or patterns.
Teens call the act of abusing over the counter drugs “robotripping” or “skittling” and some teens actively look for substances they can use to get high in the medicine cabinets of their homes where adults just see medicine that is virtually harmless. Many teens today are abusing these very drugs. They can be addictive and dangerous if abused.
A study from 2012, out of the University of Cincinnati indicated that ten percent of middle and high school students had said that they have abused over-the-counter drugs. The most commonly abused OTC drugs included Dextromethorphan, which is found in cough syrups and decongestants.
When children are taught about substance abuse dangers the conversation must include a lot more than just discussing illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol. Children really need to know that a plethora of trouble lurks right in their medicine cabinet at home. In fact, while parents are putting a lock on the liquor cabinet they should also be putting one on the medicine cabinet too.
Drugfree.org says that when parents teach their children about the risks of OTC drugs they are half as likely to use them.