Put a stop to widespread OTC drug abuse

Put a stop to widespread OTC drug abuse

By now, it should be obvious to you that it’s plenty dangerous for children to take even the prescribed dose of an ADHD drug. But it doesn’t end there. An increasing number of children are abusing their prescriptions–or are peddling them to those who are more than willing to trade their lunch money to get a fix. These days, teens and preteens across the country are snorting crushed methyphenidate and popping Adderol like Altoids just to stay up late and cram for a test or to stop eating long enough to fit into their prom dresses.

I can just imagine their thought process: My mom gave it to me. It can’t be that bad.

From there, it’s just a small step to intentionally abusing other prescription and over-the-counter medications to get high. In fact, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) reports that this is now “an entrenched behavior” among today’s teen population. They say that nearly one in five teens (19 percent, which totals about 4.5 million) report abusing prescription medications (whether it’s the speedy ADHD drugs in question or painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin) to get high, and one in 10 (that’s about 2.4 million) report abusing cough medicine to get high. These statistics are even higher than those for the abuse of ecstasy, cocaine, crack, and methamphetamine combined.

“This study removes any doubt that intentional abuse of medications among teens is a real issue threatening the health and well-being of American families,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the partnership. (This report has no attribution and is believed to be a press release from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.)

The shocking ignorance among teenagers about the dangers of these readily available and cheap drugs reveals the ignorance of parents and the indifference of government schools, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Surgeon General (who is nothing but a mouthpiece for the president), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). It’s alarming, to say the least.

These statistics provided by the PDFA say it all:

  • Two in five teens (40 percent or 9.4 million) agree that Rx medicines, even if they are not prescribed by a doctor, are “much safer” to use than illegal drugs;
  • Nearly one-third of teens (31 percent or 7.3 million) believe there’s “nothing wrong” with using Rx medicines without a prescription “once in a while;”
  • Nearly three out of 10 teens (29 percent or 6.8 million) believe prescription pain relievers–even if not prescribed by a doctor–are not addictive; and
  • More than half of teens (55 percent or 13 million) don’t agree strongly that using cough medicines to get high is risky.”

It’s obvious that today’s teens have a false sense of security about abusing prescription and OTC drugs. The good news is that because of the vigorous efforts of the PDFA, there’s a downward trend in the abuse of these dangerous compounds. They have taken the wise course of informing parents so that they can enlighten their children. This is freedom of action at its best (a nice change of pace, since we both know that government action is usually counterproductive).

Support the Partnership for a Drug-Free America with your time and your money. I do. And I believe that you could never make a better investment.