Over-the-Counter Doesn't Mean Safe

by Melissa Brunner

An incident involving Manhattan High School students should raise red flags for all parents. The teens apparantly took over the counter cold medicines to get high. One ended up in the hospital, another faces charges of aggravated child endangerment. It's the second time this has happened in Manhattan. In January, four students became ill after reportedly doing the same thing.

But don't think this is a trend isolated to the Little Apple. National health organizations cite prescription drug abuse among the fastest-growing areas of teenage drug use. One 2005 report found that, in a ten-year period, painkiller abuse among teens shot up 542-percent. In 2006, the Partnership for a Drug Free America found one out of 10 kids admitting they tried cough syrup to get high. More recently, the National Institutes of Health found 7.7 percent of 12- to 17-year olds used prescription medications for non-medical reasons in the previous year.

Health experts say teens may have the attitude that if it's medicine, it can't be that dangerous, and certainly not as bad as street drugs like marijuana or cocaine. But the fact is they can be. The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have a web site packed with information for parents and teens. Check it out - it's important information that could save a life.

NIDA's web site: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_rx1.php



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