September 04, 2007 —

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna recently wrote a guest commentary on the growing trend of teenage prescription and over-the-counter medicines in the Daily Herald.

Recent data on drug trends in this country show that teens see abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines as safer than street drugs. In fact, nationwide, teen abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise while the use of street drugs, such as heroin or marijuana, is declining.

He also mentions that legislation is underway to limit the sale of unfinished dextromethorphan, the raw form of the active ingredient found in manufactured over-the-counter cough medicines, to protect our children:

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have introduced legislation that calls upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the sale of unfinished dextromethorphan. While dextromethorphan has a therapeutic and legitimate purpose when used appropriately “it is a safe and effective ingredient found in more than 100 over-the-counter cough medicines that families have relied on for decades" teens are abusing it by taking it in extremely large quantities.

Finally, Mr. McKenna stresses the importance of talking to your kids:

Cough medicine abuse is preventable. Parents need to know about this problem -- and right now, most of them don't. I urge parents to make a commitment to learn more about medicine abuse and work with concerned parents throughout the country to reverse this dangerous trend.

Click here to read the whole article.