7 Ways You and Your Teen Can Get Involved in National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month This October

Did you know that, according to CADCA, one in five young adults have misused a prescription drug, and that one in 27 teens have used over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high from the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM)?

The statistics are alarming, but as a parent, you are one of your teen’s primary influencers when it comes to their decision-making. After all, teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use them.

There is no better time than now to spark a conversation with your teen about making smarter and more informed decisions. October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month (NMAAM), a time for community leaders and parents to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription and OTC medicine misuse.

Not sure how to get involved? We’ve rounded up seven ideas for how you and your teen can participate in NMAAM this year:

  1. Test your OTC medicine IQ. Take this interactive OTC Quiz and test your knowledge. Compare your results with your teen!
  2. Take the Drug Facts Challenge! Need an educational and fun family bonding activity? Dive into the Drug Facts Challenge, a downloadable Jeopardy-style game that tests your knowledge across five categories of substances.
  3. Familiarize yourself with DXM facts. DXM is the active ingredient in most OTC cough medicines. Learn about what it is, where it’s found, and how to identify DXM-containing products.
  4. Learn about what DXM misuse looks like and talk with your teen about it. Teens may mistakenly believe that since DXM is found in OTC cough medicines and can easily be obtained, it might be a harmless way to get high. It’s not. When misused, DXM can cause serious side effects. Parents have the power to ensure their teens know the truth. Visit WhatIsDXM.com with your teen to hear real stories of DXM abuse. Discuss the stories with your teen, so they can better understand the real consequences. There are ways to bring up critical issues – like medicine misuse with your teen – the trick is to know how to start the conversation.
  5. Monitor your medicine cabinets and your teen’s activities. Safeguard the medicine in your home by taking inventory of what you have and how much, so you will know if anything goes missing without explanation. Be sure to also monitor your teen’s behavior for warning signs of medicine misuse.
  6. Share what you have learned with other parents and community leaders. Spread the word on social media using facts and educational materials. Our friends at CADCA have rounded up some social media share tools on PreventMedAbuse.org that you can easily share on your own social channels. Speak up – at school meetings, sporting events, and other gatherings of parents – to make sure others active in your teen’s day-to-day activities know the warning signs of OTC cough medicine misuse as well.
  7. Encourage coalitions in your community to participate in the Dose of Prevention Challenge. The first-place winner will be recognized at CADCA’s National Leadership Forum and receive a $1,500 cash prize. For inspiration, check out how last year’s winner adapted their substance use prevention efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Happy participating!

Take Action

Increased awareness can only mean increased prevention. Join us in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse by exploring and sharing our free resources.