Last month, October was National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. I apologize for missing the opportunity then to help spread the word about this very important issue. But I don’t think it’s too late to start, even though we’re already into the 1st week of November. Because substance abuse can occur anytime, anywhere.
Recent reports indicate that abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise, ranking second to marijuana abuse. There is a good reason behind this trend – prescription drugs are easily available within the four walls of the home. According to the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, the 3 classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are:
- opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine;
- central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines;
- stimulants such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate
In case you don’t know it, some of these substances are found in your common cough syrup. One of them is codeine, which is a regulated substance. Another one is dextromethorphan or DXM, believed to be the most popular.
Parents are getting concerned about this trend. Some decided to do something about it.
Brought together by the Consumer Healthcare Product Association (CHPA), five mothers from different backgrounds and different parts of the US launched a campaign in 2007 to fight medicine abuse among teens. The campaign is aptly called Five Moms: Stopping Teen Medicine Abuse.
Here are some tips that Five Moms give parents to help prevent medicine abuse:
- Safeguard medicine cabinets. This includes locking them up and keeping a close inventory of its contents.
- Monitor your child’s Internet activity. The Word Wide Web is a rich source of information which might be beneficial or dangerous. It is also a platform where illicit drug deals occur.
- Talk to your teens about drug abuse. Keep an open communication with your teens. Five Moms gives tips on how to talk to your teens effectively.
- Recognize the signs of cough medicine abuse.
The Five Moms site offers a lot of information and resources for parents, also available in Spanish. Here’s what you can do at the Five Moms site:
- Get information, tips and read testimonials.
- Take a quiz about your knowledge of medicine abuse.
- Download the Parents’ Guide on Medicine Abuse.
- Receive a free newsletter
Learn. Act. Talk. Protect. These are what Five Moms advocate. Their Mission:
We are five moms—a registered nurse, an accountant, a D.A.R.E. officer, an educator, and an author—from different backgrounds and from all over the country. We’ve come together with a common concern: teenagers abusing cough medicine to get high. We worry not only about our own kids, but about those of our friends and neighbors, too.
Picture credit: Five Moms icon