September 15, 2009 —

With our teens’ social schedules filling up now that they are back in school, many of us tend to worry about their behavior at parties or gatherings. There is certainly the risk of your teen coming face-to-face with illicit drugs while spending time with friends or a group of peers. For many teens looking to abuse drugs, however, the search can begin in the home. The first place a teen may look for drugs to abuse can be in your medicine cabinet. This is something that we have stressed since the start of our Five Moms campaign. It is crucial to safeguard medicine cabinets. Know exactly what medications you have in your home and how much medicine is in each bottle or package. And make sure your teen knows what you’re doing and why. It also is important to pay particular attention to what your teen is doing online. The Internet provides a wealth of resources for teens to looking to abuse medicines. Monitoring your teen’s Internet activity is certainly helpful, but talking to your child about it first can help to prevent this form of abuse. Let your teen know that you consider these sites inappropriate and discuss the harmful side effects of cough-medicine abuse. If you approach your teen in an honest and open way, and continue the dialog, you really can have an impact on your child’s decision on whether or not to abuse OTC cough medicine. And, of course, make an effort to talk to the parents of your teen’s friends to make sure they know about cough medicine abuse and are taking appropriate precautions in their own homes, too. By helping other parents learn about this form of abuse, how to recognize it, and how to prevent it, you can be more confident that your teen’s next sleepover or social gathering is less likely to include OTC cough medicine abuse. How has our information helped you monitor your teen’s activities? Share your experiences on the Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/stopmedicineabuse.