While millions of Americans safely rely on over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to temporarily relieve their cough due to a cold, approximately one in 30 teens reports abusing it to get “high.”

Did You Know…

While parents are aware of the dangers of illicit street drugs, prescription medicine and (OTC) cough medicine are sometimes overlooked.  According to The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids:

  • Roughly one in three teens knows someone who has abused OTC cough medicine to get high.
  • 75 percent of teens believe that abusing OTC cough medicine to get high is risky. That means that a quarter of teens believe that it is not.
  • Additionally, approximately one out of 30 teens reports abusing it to get “high.”

Have you ever heard your teen or their friends talking about DXM abuse?

DXM Abuse IS a Problem

Myths about this type of substance abuse and a lack of awareness among parents are barriers to preventing it.

Data collected in 2016 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for its Monitoring the Future study estimates the intentional abuse of OTC cough medicine among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders is at 2.6%, 3.0% and 4.0%, respectively.

Role of the Internet

Unfortunately, some people encourage DXM abuse through the Internet.  A number of websites and online communities promote the abuse of medicines containing DXM.  Websites promoting DXM abuse are not the only online sources providing dangerous content to kids.  Social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could include detailed instructions, user conversations and videos of DXM abuse.  Users post photos, videos and tweets about specific plans to abuse DXM, how and when they will take it, and their experiences while abusing.  Through these social sharing outlets, users actively compare notes, exchange approaches, and further promote this dangerous type of abuse.