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Deadly Trend: Over The Counter Drugs

1714 words - 7 pages

Back then, cough medicine or painkillers were used to treat the common cold. Now in days they are being used particularly different which contradicts its initial use. More and more teens are abusing over the counter medicine, otherwise known as OTC drugs to try to achieve that “high” effect. “Many of these products are widely available and can be purchased at supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. Many OTC drugs that are intended to treat headaches, sinus pressure, or cold/flu symptoms contain the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM) and are the ones that teens are using to get high” (“Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse”). Although the percentage on teens abusing illegal drugs has decreased in the past years, over-the-counter drugs (OTC) abusers have increased in abundance. Therefore leads me to believe that there should be stricter laws that limit the access to OTC to prevent teens from acquiring them.
To begin with, some background knowledge on OTC drugs and what is their initial intention for them. Over the counter drugs can be purchased at any pharmacy or drug store and also found at home. One of the most common is cough medicine, used to treat symptoms that come with the common cold or flu. Such as headaches, sinus problems, sore throat. As mentioned above the active ingredient in cough syrup is (DXM). Another commonly used OTC drug is painkillers. Now this are used to relieve “…minor aches and pains such as headache, backache, muscle aches, toothache, menstrual cramps, minor pain of arthritis, and aches and pains due to the common cold. Some pain relievers are also labeled for migraine” ("Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers"). The active ingredient in most painkillers is “acetaminophen and ibuprofen” ("Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers”). These medicines if abused and not used for its intended use can bring severe consequences.
Amazingly, these over-the-counter medications are increasing in popularity. Cough medicine and painkillers are among the most popular OTC drugs used by teens. There are many signs and symptoms that parents can look for in a teen for drug abuse. Depending on the drug taken the symptoms will be slightly different. When used in large amounts, cough medicine produces a "high" like feeling which has an ingredient in the medicine called dextromethorphan, or DXM, that causes hallucinations. Other symptoms and side effects are”… confusion, dizziness, distorted vision, slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, loss of motor control and hallucinations” (Poland 70). However, what teens are unaware of is that it can also produce dangerous side effects such as death. "Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen are both safe and effective when used properly" (“What Parents Need to Know”). Symptoms of acetaminophen“… include nausea, vomiting, and lethargy/diaphoresis” (Johnson 369).When abused, acetaminophen can cause liver failure and chances increase when alcohol is consumed. Some symptoms of ibuprofen...

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