You have a suspicion that your teen is experimenting with over-the-counter drugs. Or maybe you’re simply worried that she may use drugs – if not now, then later. What can parents do to protect their teens from OTC drug use?

First, get educated. Knowledge is power, and learning everything you can about the problem will put you in the best position to help your child. Did you know that kids as young as 12 years of age are using OTC medications to relieve anxiety, stress, or pain, and simply to get high? In fact, one in every 11 teens has admitted to getting high on cough medicine. Kids don’t realize that getting high on OTC drugs is not safer than getting high on illegal street drugs. OTC drugs can be dangerous, and addictive.

And unlike illegal street drugs, children don’t have to look far to find OTC drugs. A couple feet away is your medicine cabinet, full of pain medications, sleep aids, diet pills, motion sickness remedies, and cough and cold formulas. These drugs are easily accessible – much easier for your teen than having to find out who uses or sells street drugs like marijuana.

The Internet, while a good source of information about the risks of drugs, is also a source of information for your child about how to use OTC drugs for recreational purposes. Many websites describe what kind of medication to buy and how much to take to get high. Kids can also buy OTC medications online.

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