Home’s Medicine Cabinet Likely Candidate For Teen Drug Abuse
October 30, 2012

Medicine Cabinet Likely Candidate For Teen Drug Abuse

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

It seems many adolescents are always finding innovative ways to get hold of drugs. With tighter crackdowns on alcohol and tobacco sales and the fight against illicit drugs, today´s youth are looking toward a much simpler source to get their fix: the home medicine cabinet.

Researchers Keith King and Rebecca Vidourek, from the University of Cincinnati, have found, in a new study, that adolescent males are at a higher risk of reporting longtime use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines compared to their female peers.

The study examined over-the-counter (OTC) drug use among 54,000 7th-12th grade students in 133 schools across Greater Cincinnati. The data was collected by the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati as part of the 2009-2010 Pride Survey on adolescent drug use in America. Early results found that 10 percent of those involved reported abusing OTC drugs.

“Findings from this study highlight and underscore OTC drugs as an increasing and significant health issue affecting young people,” said Vidourek. They found OTC drug use in both male and female junior high school students, yet was greater in adolescent males.

Commonly abused OTC medications include cough syrup containing Dextromethorphan (DXM) and decongestants. OTC abuse can likely result in unintentional poisoning, noted Vidourek, who adds that OTC abuse can lead to poisoning, causing seizures and also resulting in physical and psychological addictions.

The researchers found that students who reported involvement in positive activities, such as school sports and community and church organizations, were less likely to report abusing OTC drugs. Students who were more likely to report using OTC drugs were also more likely to report they had attended parties with such drugs or knew friends who had abused such drugs.

Health organizations and outreach facilities are currently working to assess, educate, advocate and support local programs to help curb OTC and illicit drug abuse in adolescents.

The Pride Survey provides an independent assessment of adolescent drug use, violence and other behaviors, while the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati promotes drug-free environments for youth by enhancing partnerships with the community.

The American Public Health Association, which is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world, is dedicated to improving public health and is also part of the hard-charged fight to end drug use in adolescents.

Results of the research, conducted by King, professor of health promotion, and Vidourek, assistant professor of health promotion at UC, was presented yesterday (Oct. 29) at the 140th annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Francisco, CA.