Monitoring the Future 2017: Teen Abuse of OTC Cough Medicine Remains Low

Every month, we keep you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at the 2017 results from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and University of Michigan’s annual drug abuse survey, Monitoring the Future.

Last week, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the University of Michigan released the 2017 results of the annual survey, Monitoring the Future. The survey measures drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among teens nationwide.

This year, the percentage of teens using over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to get high remains at just 3 percent, the lowest level recorded for teen cough medicine abuse since 2015.

While this is a win for the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign which works to inform parents and community members of the risks in order to prevent abuse, it also should serve as motivation to continue our prevention efforts.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Here’s what you can do to help us continue to reduce the rate of OTC cough medicine abuse:

  • Talk to the teens in your life about the risks of substance abuse. Tell them the dangerous side effects and warn them of how partaking in risky behaviors as a teen can impact their futures. Studies have shown that teens who have the drug talk with their parents/guardians are 50% less likely to abuse.
  • Monitor both your teen and your home for warning signs of abuse. Look out for red flags such as empty cough medicine bottles in the trash when no one is sick, drastic changes in behavior, or use of any of these slang terms. It’s difficult to imagine medicine abuse happening in our own families, but it’s also important to know how to detect potential signs of it.
  • Share what you’ve learned with parents, teachers, and community members. The more people who know how to sniff out medicine abuse, the more we can prevent and stop it. You can find resources for spreading the word here.

You can find the survey’s data on various drug abuse trends here and read the full press release from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association here.

Be sure to keep up with the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on studies, parenting tips, and more information on keeping teens away from risky behaviors.

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.