This month I got my fourth teenager. Being a mom of all teens (and up!) isn’t easy. First, I have become the stupidest person on Earth. Second, I have to keep up with trends, slang, and dance moves I have no real interest in. I know about twerking because, you know, YOLO.
There’s a very serious side to parenting teens that’s more than cat memes and ironic tees. Medicine abuse is a real thing, and you need to know about it before your kids do. This is one of the easier talks to have, because unlike the birds and bees talk, you can honestly say no when they ask if you drink cough syrup.
October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month and Stop Medicine Abuse‘s goal is to alert parents to the dangers of teens abusing OTC cough medicines. This is a sponsored post, with all opinions belonging to me.
Approximately 1 in 20 teens reports abusing excessive amounts of DXM to get high. One in 3 knows someone who has abused cough medicine to get high.
DXM is Dextromethorphan, a safe and effective ingredient found in many over-the-counter cough medicines. You probably have some in your house right now.
When abused, DXM can cause side effects including vomiting, stomach pain, mild distortions of color and sound, hallucinations, and loss of motor control.
I had a friend right out of high school take cough syrup to get high. She collapsed in a place where she had to be rescued by emergency workers. Before they reached her, she could have died from hypothermia as well as the initial overdose. I always remember how lucky she was to be saved just in time.
The reality is this: having a conversation with your child is critically important. The data shows that what parents say does matter. In fact, teens who learn about the risk of drugs from their parents are fifty percent less likely to use drugs. I talked with my kids last night. They had not heard of any kids taking OTC meds for a high. Someday they will. If they are ever offered or encouraged to try it, I’m glad my words are in their head.
Talk with your teen about the dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse and monitor your medicine cabinets.
Listen to the language your kids use. DXM is often referred to as skittling, tussin, robo-tripping, CCC, triple Cs, and dexing. Check out the Stop Med Abuse site for a list of slang terms and conversation starters for parents.
Take a look at the warning signs identified by Stop Medicine Abuse:
- Empty cough medicine bottles/boxes in the trash of your child’s room, backpack, or school locker
- Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
- Changes in friends, physical appearance, sleeping, or eating patterns
- Declining grades
These are important warning signs no matter what. Even if they aren’t indicative of medicine abuse, they should be closely examined and not ignored.
The first step in preventing this abuse is to EDUCATE yourself and your family. For more information and useful resources for parents, log onto www.stopmedicineabuse.org
Follow @StopMedAbuse on Twitter and use #NotMyTeen. We are using and promoting the hashtag #NotMyTeen all month because we are trying to empower parents to be sure it isn’t their teen.
Sit down tonight with your kid and show them the infographic in this post. Have they heard these slang terms at school? Make it fun if you can. My kids clam up if they think it’s going to be “a talk”. They still aren’t over my public toilet cleanliness conversation of ‘04.
I’m glad I’ve had this conversation with my teens. They loved hearing my stories from the long ago times of the 80s, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth in Frankie Goes to Hollywood tees. Make time this week for a talk with yours.