Over the Counter Drug Use and Abuse in Schools

Association of Educators
August 5, 2013 — 830 views  

Drug abuse is known to be one of the biggest problems the country faces, especially given the fact that the most involved age group happens to be the teenage crowd. It is important to spread the word of the dangers of drug abuse on our bodies as well as our minds. While teenage children today see the immediate gratification of a ‘quick high’ from the various narcotics available, it is society’s responsibility to help them realize the long term destruction they are causing themselves.

Commonly Abused OTC Drugs

Over the counter drugs are the most abused set of narcotics because they are readily and legally available. Since these drugs actually help to cure a number of common medical conditions, it could prove hard to make them difficult to procure easily. Medical stores need to be able to identify if a certain individual is purchasing them in either curiously large quantities or with suspicious regularity.

Dextromethorphan is a substance that is regularly used in the production of medications that treat common coughs and colds. Studies show that as many as 1 in every 10 children is addicted to this substance. Large dosage of this drug is known to cause euphoria, color and sound distortions as well as ‘out of body’ experiences to an individual. 

Other common over the counter drugs that are known to be abused include pain relief medication, diet pills, motion sickness pills, and laxatives.

Signs of OTC Drug Abuse

As with the diagnosis of any condition, looking for various symptoms is the key to being able to identify when someone suffers from substance abuse. Extensive studies with people that have suffered from OTC drug addiction show that some of the more common symptoms include poor muscle co-ordination, confusion, hostility as well as regular mood swings and dizziness accompanied by nausea. Some of the immediate and short term symptoms of the substance abuse will manifest in abdominal pain, an irregular heartbeat, panic attacks, and psychosis. The more severe symptoms manifest in the event that the addict has not been able to access a supply of the chosen OTC drug for a lengthy period of time.

Habitual traits are usually the most common symptom and a child suffering from over the counter medication abuse will purchase, with substantial regularity, medication for common medical problems such as coughs and colds without showing any signs of suffering from any similar condition.

Prevention of OTC Drug Abuse

Preventing OTC abuse is an essential component of bettering our society and also the character of the children. As with any kind of substance abuse, it is important to help the addict realize that he or she has a problem in the first place. For the first few encounters, the addict will be in complete denial about their addiction which will cause them more harm than good. However, while there will be instances where they realize that their addiction is getting out of hand, they will need some emotional support to get through an emotionally draining period of their lives. It is easy to be caught in an addiction again if they do not feel that support.

Prevention can also stem from you helping your own children avoid falling into this trap. Keep a track of all the OTC medication you have in your medicine cabinet at home and look for any unforeseen disappearances of the same.

Association of Educators