Monday, December 18, 2006

Children And Teens Getting High On Over-The-Counter Drugs

On September 27, 2006 Dr. Phil aired an eye-opening (to me) show about children and teenagers using over-the-counter drugs to get high. She show will repeat tomorrow, Tuesday December 19, 2006. If you are a parent I urge you to watch this show. The show is titled “Generation Rx”.

One phrase is “Robotripping”. That is the term for drinking a whole bottle of Robitussin cough syrup (4 ounces) to get high. On the Dr. Phil show is a teen who is addicted to this and cannot get through a day without drinking multiple bottles of it.

Another thing is called “The Triple C Cocktail”. This is when a person takes cough remedies such as Coricedin HBP Cough and Cold remedy, or Coricedin Chest Congestion and Cough remedy, which contains dextromethorphan. For more information see this online pamphlet published by the US Department of Justice.

Other over the counter products used are NyQuil and entire bottles of mouthwash.

Where do they get it? They either get it from their home medicine cabinet, buy it themselves at the drug store or they steal it.

In my area many of the cold remedies are now kept behind the counter with the pharmacist. Even adults have to ask for them (after standing in line). Also some grocery stores in my area have limitations to one bottle or box of an over the counter medication can be purchased per day. There are even signs on the self-checkout registers saying the computers are programmed to kick out sales of more than one product per day.

I found the show eye-opening and disturbing.

I think our nation needs to ask itself why are the kids doing this? Something is wrong in the family itself and within the child. I know the reasons why teens experimented with drugs in the 1980s and I assume some of the reasons are the same.

One of my main goals in parenting is to have a different family relationship than I had in my own experience. I want more of an attached family, or should I say not a “disconnected” family. I want an environment where my children can speak to me openly and not be afraid of repercussions (even when they are teens). I want my children to like and not to seek to numb themselves or to escape from life. I want my children to have good self-esteem and high confidence in themselves rather than thinking negatively of themselves. I want my children to have different measurements of themselves than I did (I was more focused on appearances, having the right clothes, blending in with others rather than having my own style, etc.)

I also want my children to have responsibility. I have no idea where today’s teenagers think they can sit around getting high and to go through life like that and to not be responsible people, functioning in society. I keep seeing videos on Dr. Phil and Oprah of teens and people in their 20s who do nothing but live at home with their parents, don’t work, watch TV all day, and mooch off of their parents (some of them get high or drunk in addition).

One major reason to watch this show is to know that children and teens are getting high on these things which are readily available in our corner drugstores and Wal Mart and even convenience stores and gas stations. They show the warning signs of behaviors and signs that a person is high on these drugs to watch for. So for those of you who think your child would never have access to an ILLEGAL drug you can now ponder that your offspring do have access to LEGAL over the counter drugs that can be abused by intentional overdosing.

I know some parents are saying “that is ridiculous, who is really doing that”? Well it is really happening in America.

If you are a parent who is saying, “My child would never do that” I’d like to shake you and to tell you that you are in denial of reality. The first step to not seeing the signs of drug or alcohol use in a child or teen is the denial that “their child” would ever do that. Wake up and smell the coffee, every child is at risk for experimentation with this.

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1 comment:

christinemm said...

I received this by private email today.

Hi Christine,

Good morning and Happy Holidays!

My name is Anna M. and I work for Edelman doing online public relations for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, where in are in the midst of an extensive campaign to raise awareness about OTC cough medicine abuse.

I read your blog pretty regularly and your story last week on "Robotripping" and why other mothers should be aware of this problem caught my eye.

I have a bit of news that may be of interest to yourself and other concerned moms:

Just this morning, NIDA released its annual Monitoring the Future survey – and found that as many as 4.2 percent of 8th, 5.3 percent of 10th and 6.9 percent of 12th graders have abused OTC cough medicines with dextromethorphan to get high.

This is actually the first time the survey has covered the topic of cough medicine abuse – which underscores, in CHPA’s mind, the scope of this growing problem.

I will pass on more news and info on CHPA’s awareness campaign around dextromethorphan abuse if you are interested, and you can also access it here:

In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

Thanks much!