January 26, 2010 —

This past year, we’ve learned a great deal about teen OTC medicine abuse. In December, the Monitoring the Future study revealed that while cough medicine abuse among teens has not increased, it has not decreased either. This tells me there is still a lot of work ahead and that we need to continue to raise awareness about the dangers of cough medicine abuse.

There are many ways we can take action to fulfill the Five Moms mission, but the most important thing we can do is share what we learn about cough medicine abuse and its risks with other parents. Parents cannot take a stand against this type of substance abuse if they don’t know that it can occur. Tell your friends about it. Tell your neighbors. Tell your kids’ coaches and teachers. Educating the adults you know really does make a huge difference. Take advantage of the excellent resources available at StopMedicineAbuse.org to help.

Talking with our teens is another important and effective way to reduce the possibility that your teens will abuse cough medicine, but remember it shouldn’t be a one-way conversation. Listening allows us to understand our kids’ experiences and perspectives. We’ve learned that when parents talk regularly with their teens about the risks of substance abuse, their teens are up to 50 percent less likely to abuse. Of course, substance abuse isn’t an easy topic to bring up, but there are some wonderful tips available from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Visit the Partnership’s Time To Talk site for advice on how to get the conversation started with your teens.

The information we learn and share is essential to preventing OTC medicine abuse in our communities. We are excited to see how much more progress we can make with your continued help this year. Share what you’ve learned with others on the Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/stopmedicineabuse.