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Parents: beware of medication abuse

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As a parent of two teenage girls, I felt compelled to voice my concerns publically about an issue that might seem harmless, but is in fact very dangerous. Kids are using over-the-counter medications (drugs) to get “high;” liquid cold medicine, cough syrup, allergy medication, anything with alcohol content or containing the drug dextromethorphan (also called DXM). Dextromethorphan-containing products are labeled DM, cough suppressant, or Tuss (or contain “tuss” in the title). These are potentially lethal when taken inappropriately and abused. These are relatively cheap, easily accessible, and legal. So parents, make an extra effort to be aware of where your teens are going and what they are doing. Specifically check your medicine cabinets for any type of over-the-counter medications that might be missing or empty without you knowing.  Store clerks, make note of kids that are repeat “buyers.” I know I would appreciate someone letting me know if my child were potentially abusing drugs, legal or not. This is happening in our community; don’t turn a blind eye. Take the initiative to help a teen make the right choice. Risk offending someone to prevent a tragedy; better a mild offense than reading a teen’s obituary.

Tanya Gray

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