When used in the recommended dosage, over-the-counter drugs can be effective and safe for treating a variety of minor illnesses. Unfortunately abuse of over-the-counter medicines is a growing trend, especially among younger teens. OTC drugs are cheap, legal and readily accessible, and when abused, they can be very dangerous.
Commonly abused OTC medications include cough syrups and pills, sleeping pills, and nasal sprays. Many cough suppressants such as Robitussin, Coricidin, and Nyquil contain dextromethorphan (DXT), a dissociative anesthetic that causes symptoms ranging from mild stimulation with slight visual distortion to complete dissociation from one’s body at very large doses. DXM is one of the most commonly abused OTC drugs. Many parents do not think twice about their teenager carrying cough medicine.
DXM has many negative side effects including confusion, dizziness, loss of coordination, vomiting, hallucinations, drowsiness, blurred vision, and rapid heartbeat. It is possible to overdose on DXM, which carries additional risks since it is often mixed with antihistamines and sleep aids in OTC formulations.
Serenity House offers residential and outpatient treatment options for a wide range of drug and alcohol addictions. Our Bridges Program for Youth can help young adults overcome drug and alcohol addiction during a crucial turning point in their lives.