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Sub-Categories of Over the Counter Drug Abuse
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If you check out the label on any over the counter medication you will see a long list of side effects. For most people this long list of the horrific sounding possible consequences of overdose may be cause for caution. Ironically, what is a sobering concern for those using the medication legitimately is just the ticket for those seeking to get high cheaply and efficiently.|
Every year the gargantuan drug companies come out with new and improved ways to relieve our symptoms and lessen the suffering associated with ill health.
This is a culture that stands vehemently against suffering of all kinds. The drug companies have more than enough economic resources to research and investigate any or all forms of the magic bullet that will make the pain go away.
Medication used in moderation can be a blessing but many consider the western world's aversion to anything that interrupts "normal life" to be bordering on unnatural. Seeking the cure for pain and suffering taken to extremes can become a denial of that same pain and suffering. Eventually the graceful undulations of life can become numbed and flattened by the bottles and bottles of symptom relievers in our bathroom cabinets.
Where some other cultures more graciously understand and embrace the vacillation between well and not well, the ups and downs, Americans are encouraged to run for the pharmacy shelves after experiencing the slightest hint of discomfort.
It is in this climate that children grow into the teenagers that will reach for the easily accessible over the counter drug to dull the pain of life and give them a good feeling that they are unable to find in an un-bottled form.
It is hard to escape the painful irony that the very medications that were developed to solve problems are providing another more serious one, that of over the counter drug addiction. And the players on this particular stage are the teenagers who are particularly susceptible to a drug option that can be easily purchased without prescription and no pusher necessary.
Alarming mythologies surround this particular corner of the drug abuse world. There is the belief that because these medications grace the shelves in the family home and are FDA approved they are less dangerous than their street drug cousins. Taking a slug out of a cough syrup doesn't feel the same as shooting up.
Over the counter drugs come nicely packaged with pictures of smiling children and proud parents on the boxes. It is easy enough for anyone to walk into their local grocery store and purchase any or all of the liquid, tablet or gel forms. For some children there is the ready supply at home.
Unconscious parents may unknowingly keep replenishing supplies of this substance that is both a safe and effective cough suppressant when used correctly and a dangerous dissociative anesthetic when it is not.
The ingredient that causes the high in these particularly popular over the counter drugs is called Dextromethorphan or just DXM. It can be found in 70 to 100 different forms of colds and flu medications and that is without counting the generic forms.
When taken in large doses this dissociative drug will cause distorted perceptions of both sight and sound and pleasant feelings of detachment or separation from the self and the environment.
You will find DXM in common medications like Robitussin, Nyquil, Vicks Formula 44 and Coricidin. Teenagers call DXM Robo, Triple C's , Dex, Vitamin D and Tussin and they refer to using it as Robo-ing, robo-tripping and skittling.
Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold tablets contain much more potent doses of DXM than other medications; just a few tablets can be swallowed to create the same effects as large quantities of sticky cough syrups.
The youth have learnt to mix this ingredient with drugs and alcohol to create dangerous cocktails that can be lethal enough to cause overdoses or even death. Hospitals report dozens of admissions for drug overdose where DXM is the primary ingredient. The ages of the patients are young: 13 to 16 years.
Although DXM is the most popular over the counter drug choice amongst teens it is not the only one. Many young girls use and abuse diet pills that contain potentially dangerous ingredients. The idea is that the more of these you take the faster you will lose the weight. Dramamine motion sickness pills are also used by teens who want to get high. Taken in large doses they can cause hallucinations.
The truth is that we will not easily rid our world of substances that can be abused by those who wish to do so. As parents it is important to keep our eyes wide open and not believe ourselves to be immune. Burying heads in the sand never worked for ostriches; it doesn't work for parents either. We need to know our children well enough to be able to discern important changes in their behavior and demeanor. These clues may be vitally important for their survival. All children may be susceptible to self destructive habits at some or other time of their lives. We have to be there for them.
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