Is your medicine cabinet a source for a teen’s legal ‘high’?
Because a doctor’s prescription is not needed, many mistakenly believe that over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are safer than prescription medicines and illegal street drugs. They are in fact safe and effective when taken as directed, but even OTC medicines, including herbals, can cause serious and potentially fatal side effects when abused. One of the greatest difficulties with preventing OTC drug use is that few teens and adults realize the danger.
The “Hidden” Dangers of Over the Counter Drugs
Unlike the risks associated with illegal street drugs like cocaine and heroin, the risks associated with OTC drug abuse are given little thought and attention. Teens and young adults who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to abuse drugs.
Abuse of OTC medicines is most common among teens between the ages of 13 and 16. They know they might find a cheap high right in their family’s medicine cabinet, often without being caught. But young adults have also abused OTC medicines, particularly in combination with other medicines, alcohol, and illegal drugs, which increases the risks. The rest of the infographic includes many of the over-the-counter drugs currently abused by teens and adults.