What You Can Do about Cough Medicine Abuse
Whether it’s keeping your kids from using cough medicine, determining if someone you know may be using, or helping someone who is addicted get off cough medicine, this guide is for you.
In order to do something about it, it first helps to understand cough medicine abuse, signs of use and its effects. The following pages provide this information, as well as a guide to educating kids and helping someone who is addicted to cough medicine.
Cough medicines are widely abused by young people for their intoxication and hallucinogenic effects and because they are so readily available. There are also specific groups of adults in which abuse of this drug gains its own popularity. According to one survey, most parents do not realize the abuse potential of cough medications, but the main ingredient in many common cough medicines is addictive and has resulted in deaths.
The most widespread cough medicine abuse concerns the abuse of over-the-counter cough preparations that contain dextromethorphan. These medications are easy to obtain and so are preferred by young people who would not have easy access to prescription drugs. Among adults in certain groups, abuse of cough syrup with codeine or promethazine is popular. That type of drug abuse will be discussed later in this report.
The most recent survey of young people revealed that about one in twenty has abused over-the-counter cough medicine at one time or another. But a third of all teens know someone who has used this drug.
In most states, it is still freely available for sale, even to minors. Many homes will have cough medication on the shelves of a medicine chest, meaning the minor does not even have to run to the store to find this drug.
In 2012, federal legislation was proposed that would make it illegal to sell a product that contains dextromethorphan to anyone under 18 unless they were married, had children or had a valid prescription. As of this writing, it has not yet been enacted into law.