August 12, 2009 —

Can you believe it is already August? It seems like only yesterday that our kids were out of school and we were planning our summer vacations. Now, school is starting in a few weeks, and some of you may even be sending your teens off to college.

To help get your teen ready for college, you probably have a long list of things to do. In order to help you get started, here's a quick list of things for you to do when it comes to talking about medicine abuse with your college-bound teen:

  • By taking this step, you have already reduced the chance that your teen will abuse by up to 50 percent. You also have let your teen know how you feel about the issue and how it could impact his or her life.

  • There is only so much talking you can do. Sometimes, it's helpful for teens to learn from other teens. There are a number of such peer-to-peer resources that you can share with your child. These resources feature teens sharing the true consequences of their abuse of medicines—including cough medicines—on their lives.
  • You've had the talk and explained in real terms the risks of medicine abuse. Now, take stock of your medicine cabinet. Know exactly what medications you have and how much medicine is in each bottle or package. And make sure your teen knows what you're doing and why.

After you have gotten through this checklist, I hope you will feel confident about the decisions your teen will make. Trust me, you will have prepared him or her well for the dangers of over-the-counter cough medicine abuse.

Share your stories of preparing your teen for college on our Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook fan page at