When we are raising our kids we worry about so much. Fevers, cooties, walking, talking, reading, writing. Can they hear okay? Can they see? At some point we breathe a sigh of relief after having checked off the things we know and worry about. And then...
Well, then you find out that 1 in 30 teens, or approximately one child in every high school class, has abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high.
Yes. There's a problem. I don't even understand how we got here, you guys. But we need a new plan. That's where the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign comes in. We need to spread the word and educate ourselves in the same way we've done about alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
The active ingredient that teens are getting high on is DXM, or Dextromethorphan. It is the active ingredient in most OTC cough medicines. Some teens take up to 25 times or more of the recommended dose!
We know that DMX, when used the way it was intended could be a godsend. But it could also be a parent's worst nightmare.
What Can You Do?
- I said it earlier but: educate yourself. Look for the PARENTS icon on packages of cough and cold medicines this cold and flu season to be aware of medicines that contain DXM. The icon points to StopMedicineAbuse.org where parents can learn more about teen abuse of these medicines and how to prevent it.
- Talk to your kids! We've talked to them about so much, this one should be painless! Let's tell them about what happens if they abuse DXM but let's also keep talking to them about what could lead to the abuse. I know a lot of times we think they are not listening (especially those teens: LAWD help me in advance and cover me for the madness of the teen years). But teens DO listen even when they are rolling their eyes at us. Keep those communication lines open.
- Speaking of communication lines...talk to other parents! Let them know this is a real issue. Just like we talk about other issues with our crew, this should be one of them. Bring it up at Moms Night Out, ask about it in your mom groups on Facebook. We need to start talking about it because there are parents out there hurting because this is affecting them and 1. maybe we could've stopped it if we were out in the open about it and 2. maybe talking about it will lead to a child being saved from being in that position. It takes a village, people!
- Stay vigilant. Unfortunately, it's no longer that "one" conversation. It's keeping the lines open AND keeping an eye on our kids. Let's be sure that we are vigilant and stay attuned to our environment. I know it might be difficult especially with teens because moody is their middle name but, check out if you're running out of medicine too fast or if you see empty bottles or boxes that you might not have purchased. Know the warning signs and keep your eyes open for them.
I encourage you to share this image and let folks know where they can find more information. October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. So, let's spread the word and make people aware. What do you say?