Over the counter (OTC) drugs are some of the most commonly abused drugs among those ages 14 and over. Because they can be obtained legally, many young people mistakenly believe that these drugs are safe to abuse. However, these medications carry just as many hazards as illegal and prescription drugs. This presentation display provides a concise overview of commonly abused OTC drugs.
Over the counter painkillers are frequently taken too often and at a dose that's higher than recommended. This is true among children, adolescents, and adults alike. These drugs activate the opioid receptors in the brain, which help to block pain. In large doses, these medications can result in feelings of euphoria and they may also cause liver or kidney damage. A particular danger arises if these drugs are mixed with alcohol or allergy medication, which may cause the lungs to shut down.
Individuals may also abuse over the counter diet pills. These pills may contain diuretics or laxatives, which when used in excess can lead to eating disorders or malnutrition. Diet pills sometimes include stimulants, like caffeine, which in large doses can provide a "buzzed" feeling or cause heart problems. Eight percent of 12th graders report having used OTC diet pills, while 5% report having used caffeine pills or other energy supplements.
Cough medicine is the most widely abused over the counter medication. Many include the ingredient Dextromethorphan (DXM). DXM is an effective cough suppressant, but it's also a hallucinogenic narcotic. It's found in a number of OTC drugs and in pill, liquid, or powder form. Using DXM to get high is also known as Robo-tripping, Dex, Skittles, and Triple-Cs. Ten percent of teens report having used cough medicine to get high and an astounding 3 million young people report having used OTC cough or cold medication non-medically each year.
Finally, motion sickness medication is abused for its sedative effects. In large doses, these drugs may cause hallucinations. These drugs are especially dangerous when used with alcohol. Young people between the ages of 13 to 16 are the most likely to abuse OTC drugs.
If someone is abusing OTC drugs, they may withdraw from friends or family or demonstrate a lack of interest in hobbies, their job, or school. Their physical appearance and general attitude may change. Or they may steal medicine from others or hide empty cough medicine bottle or boxes to cover up their habit.
The short- and long-term effects of abusing OTC drugs are no less frightening than those associated with illicit drugs. In the short term, abusers may experience nausea, vomiting, mood changes, anxiety, hallucinations, or temporary amnesia. With continued use, abusers may experience liver or brain damage, stroke, depression, seizures and death.
The display finishes by noting that It's Never Too Late to Get Help. It urges those who may have a problem to talk to a trusted friend or family member about their problem. With OTC drugs, legal doesn't cancel lethal.
- Over 6 feet high and 3 feet wide - greater impact
- Vivid graphics - grab & hold attention
- Retractable stand & carrying case - lightweight & portable
- Presenter's Guide - helps you hold an expert event
- Durable, high quality materials - use over and over again
LM0186 In the Know: Over the Counter Drug Abuse Presentation Display
Min: 1 Pc
Setup: One Location - Included