OTC Cough Medicine Abuse Declines
Following is a statement by Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), regarding today's release of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Monitoring the Future survey. For the third year in its 33-year history, the annual survey of the teen substance abuse landscape reported on the non-medical use of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students:
"The OTC medicine industry looks to the Monitoring the Future survey every year to help us understand teen behaviors towards substance abuse, including medications. This year's survey offers very promising news about the efforts of the leading makers of OTC cough medicines to discourage abuse, noting that the annual rates of prevalence have decreased among 8th and 12th graders and show no increase among 10th graders. According to this year's survey, 3.6, 5.3, and 5.5 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively, reported abusing OTC cough medicines to get high. We are encouraged by this progress but remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce the number of teens abusing these medicines to get high.
"CHPA and the leading makers of OTC cough medicines, along with our partners and experts in the substance abuse field, are engaged in a multi-pronged public health education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of medicine abuse. The association's initiatives include educational programming for parents, schools, pharmacists and retailers, law enforcement, health professionals, community leaders, and online.
"A crucial element of our work is the partners who stand with us, including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and D.A.R.E. America. With their support, we have created public service announcements; lesson plans for school-aged children; and outreach vehicles, such as the award-winning Five Moms Campaign to stop cough medicine abuse, the Dose of Prevention toolkit to help community leaders spread the word locally, and the StopMedicineAbuse.org web site. In addition to education, we also are advocating for a federal law to prevent the sale of dextromethorphan containing medicine to those under the age of 18.
"While we will continue to do all we can to ensure that this abuse is stopped, there is no substitute for parents and the influence they have over their kids. The leading makers of OTC cough medicines recommend parents:
1. Educate themselves about the problem of medicine abuse.
2. Talk to their teens about substance abuse, including cough medicine abuse.
3. Safeguard and take a regular inventory of home medicine cabinets.
4. Monitor their teen's Internet use for sites that offer information supporting the inappropriate use or abuse of medicines.
5. Seek the help of a professional if they think their child has a substance abuse problem."