Increase in Drug Use Among Teens

By: Jummy Olabanji
By: Jummy Olabanji

December 26, 2006

A new drug of choice for teens has many medical experts on edge.

These drugs are so easy to get because many of them are sitting in medicine cabinets across the country.

The good news is research shows that these days less teens are abusing illegal drugs and alcohol.

The bad news is a recent study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that more and more teens are using over the counter medicines to get high.

“I think there’s a lot more than what are being reported to us,” said Dr. Chris Holstege, Medical Director at the UVa Health System.

The numbers show the greatest increase in the abuse of cold and cough medicine.

Holstege said, “Typically we see everything from the middle school age group up to the college age group tend to abuse these substances because they are over the counter and they have easy access to them.”

Easy access doesn't mean their affects are any easier on the body.

“There may also kind of be a myth that because they are over the counter they're safer, which isn't the case,” said Holstege.

Teens use these drugs because they have a high similar to the one you would get from using LSD.

“But, it also has adverse affects, such as serotonin syndrome, a thing that can cause you to be hypertensive and cause your blood pressure to get too high,” said Holstege.

The results showed that one in every fourteen high school seniors said they used cold medicines "fairly recently" to get high.

Most of these medicines are made with Dextromathorphan, or DXM.

These medicines are the ones you’ll find in the store that will have TUSS or DM in the title.

Experts say parents should keep their ears open for terms such as “robo-tripping”, “sipping on syrup” or “sizzurup”, “DEX”, “vitamin d” and “popping skittles.”

They also suggest keeping an eye on medicine cabinets and throwing away anything that is unused.

You can also call the Blue Ridge Poison Center at 1800 222 1222.

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