Sue Scheff: Young Teens Overdose on Cough Medicine

According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4 students at Pioneer Middle School (ages 13-14 years old) had each taken between eight and 12 cough suppressant pills, though it was unclear if they gulped them down before school or during classes, said Mike Jachles, a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman.

Parenting teens today is challenging.  These incidents shouldn’t be our wake-up call to talk to our kids. 

Stop Medicine Abuse is an organization that helps parents learn more about drug abuse and teens. Learn more about Stop Medicine Abuse and Five Moms who are making a difference:

Recent studies among middle and high school aged kids across the country show a disturbing form of substance abuse among teens: the intentional abuse of otherwise beneficial medications, both prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC), to get high.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high. Where OTC medicines are concerned, data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicate that one in 10 teens reports having abused OTC cough medicines to get high, and 28 percent know someone who has tried it.

The ingredient the teens are abusing in OTC cough medicines is dextromethorphan, or DXM. When used according to label directions, DXM is a safe and effective ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is found in well over 100 brand-name and store-brand over-the-counter cough medicines. When abused in extreme amounts, DXM can be dangerous. was developed by the leading makers of OTC cough medicines to build awareness about this type of substance abuse behavior, provide tips to prevent it from happening, and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets. Substance abuse can touch any family: The key to keeping teens drug-free is education and talking about the dangers of abuse.

Visit Five Moms: Stop Cough Medicine Abuse for more information from parents.  Watch the short video  and learn more about what your kids ARE doing.

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