October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month in the US and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is actively campaigning for this observance. The organization is especially reaching out to parents to raise awareness on this issue. Here are the reasons why:
- More than 6 million people ages 12 or older have abused a prescription drug
- One in 10 youth ages 12 through 17, or 2,400,000 children, reports having intentionally abused cough medicine to get high
- According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, considered the preeminent national study on teen substance abuse, since 2002 prescription drug abuse has jumped 20 percent among those ages 12 and older.
- Among those ages 12-17, prescription drug abuse increased 17 percent, jumping from 2.3 percent of youth in 2008 to 2.7 percent in 2009.
- In addition, the 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey showed that 5 percent of teens have abused an over-the-counter cough medicine to get high over the past year.
But you may ask: how do these kids get access to prescription drugs? They are not usually the drugs one can buy on the streets, right? You may not believe it but the main source of medications that are abused is none other than your medicine cabinet at home. Yes, the home that is probably in your bathroom. Have you checked its contents lately?
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
National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month is aimed to help raise awareness and educate people – children, young people and their parents – on this problem.
For this purpose, here are some materials provided by CADCA and other supporting agencies:
- CADCA’s Rx Abuse Prevention Toolkit: From Awareness to Action
- The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s, Parents. The Anti-Drug website.
- An informational video about cough medicine abuse
- A PowerPoint presentation on medicine abuse
- Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
- Five Moms: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse
Check out also relevant previous posts on Medicine Abuse: