Over the counter drug abuse is a trend that is growing, especially among teens and young adults. Unlike prescription medications or illegal street drugs OTC options can be purchased in almost any store, and these are displayed right on the shelves. There are few if any restrictions on age or purchase amount. Many believe that since the substances are available over the counter they are safer than street or prescription versions but this is not true. OTC drug abuse has become very common and is now considered part of the teen culture in many areas of the country. Each year many end in the local Emergency Rooms or dead as a result of this form of substance abuse. The easy access, cheaper prices, and large availability of OTC medications are all reasons why these are popular with teens and young adults.
Some of the most commonly abused over the counter medications include dextromethorphan or DMX, but those without this component may also be abused. The most frequently abused OTC products include:
- Robitussin cough syrup
- Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold
- Vicks Formula 44
- Allergy medications
The purpose of abusing OTC drugs is to get high or to stay awake for longer periods of time. These drugs are not strictly controlled by the FDA, and many teens use large amounts of the drug without considering all of the ingredients and components involved. Organ damage or failure, seizures, coma, and even death can result from an overdose of many ingredients in OTC drugs.