Many of today’s teens are looking for ways to get high. Most parents may worry about illicit drugs such a pot, but the truth is that many teens are getting high from drugs that they find at home, in their own bathrooms. I’m not talking about prescription drugs, but rather over-the-counter medications.
Over the counter medications have been used for some time to help get rid of the symptoms of anything from an upset stomach, cold, cough or headache; among many other physical ailments. Many people think that because these drugs are legal and sold in convenience stories, pharmacies or grocery stores, that they are not dangerous.
However, the truth is that any drug taken non-medically or even medically, for that matter can have its own list of side effects and problems.
Most Commonly Abuse OTCs
The following is a list of the top 10 most commonly abused OTC drugs:
• Pain relievers
• Caffeine medicines and energy drinks
• Diet pills
• Laxatives and herbal diuretics
• Motion sickness pills
• Sexual performance medicines
• Herbal ecstasy
• Other herbals
Some of the drugs listed above may seem unusual to abuse, but as you continue reading you will have a better understanding of why they are.
The Effects That Teens Desire
Each drug has its specific use and when used correctly are safe, but when they are abused, they produce very different effects. Dextromethorphan is a drug that is in over 100 OTC coughcold medicines. When taken in very large dosages it causes hallucinations, euphoria and other distortions. It can impair your judgment, cause seizures, drowsiness, and increased heart rate and when mixed with other substances, such as alcohol it can cause death.
What’s even scarier is that 1 out of 10 teens have admitted to abusing this drug. Pain relievers, such as Tylenol and Advil are commonly abused by taking too much at once in hopes that it will work faster. This is dangerous and can cause stomach bleeding, cardiac problems and kidney failure. Energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular and have proven to be very dangerous. One young girl developed a heart arrhythmia after drinking energy drinks and died as a result. Diet pills assist in losing weight by acting as stimulants in order to burn more calories and curb your appetite. Many teens begin taking these types of pills to lose weight and then become hooked, as they are highly addictive. They can cause hair loss, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, heart failure, and death.
Laxatives and herbal diuretics are often abused to lose weight, but often lead to dehydration and loss of essential salts and minerals that are needed for proper muscle function. Consuming too much Dramamine, which is found in motion sickness pills, causes hallucinations and has been known to induce comas, heart attacks and death. Sexual performance medicines can become dangerous when taken with other drugs or alcohol. Pseudoephedrine is found in many cold medicines and is used to make methamphetamine.
Herbal ecstasy can cause muscle spasms, seizures, heart attacks, strokes and death.
Education Is Key
The common denominator with all of these drugs is that when they are taken in excess, they can be deadly. Parents should take the time to educate their children about the dangers of abusing OTC drugs. They may not realize that they can actually be detrimental to them because they aren’t your typical illicit drugs. Parents should also monitor what is in the medicine cabinets or keep them locked up.
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