May 06, 2013 —

Sometimes the hardest part about having a difficult conversation is simply getting the words out – especially when the topic of conversation has a stigma attached to it. But I ask you to consider this: If it’s hard to talk about, what does that say about the topic in question? To me, the harder it is to address, the more important it likely is.

That is exactly how I feel about over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse. It may not naturally come up in everyday conversation. You may not hear other moms talking about it at soccer games or brunches. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed.

The fact of the matter is this: Many moms don’t even think of OTC cough medicine abuse as something that they need to be concerned about. Sure, other drugs and alcohol tend to be top of mind, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard the thought of safeguarding your home medicine cabinet.

I was one of those moms. I had discussed the dangers of drugs and alcohol with both of my sons, but before my oldest son was arrested for a crime he committed while high on OTC cough medicine, the thought of cough medicine abuse had never even entered my mind as a possibility.

That’s why I want to encourage you to share information on this topic with other parents. The conversation may be difficult to start, but it could prevent another family from going through what my family experienced.

Here are some helpful tips for getting the conversation started when you’re talking to another parent:

  • When involved in a discussion about other drugs and alcohol, use it as an opportunity to naturally weave medicine abuse into the conversation. More often than not, the concept will be new to the person you’re talking to and they’ll thank you for making them aware of the risk.
  • Use my story (and the stories of the other Five Moms) to kick start the conversation. That may make it less personal and easier to talk about.
  • If you have your own story about OTC medicine abuse, don’t be embarrassed to share it – be empowered. It could make a huge difference in the life of another mother and their teen. Isn’t that worth a brief moment of feeling uncomfortable?

Do you have any tips of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!