Over the Counter Drug Abuse
Most of the attention given to drug abuse is centered on the street trade of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin. But there is a serious and ever-growing problem with people abusing over-the-counter drugs purchased at the local corner pharmacy. Over the counter medications are those that do not require a doctor’s prescription and can be purchased by anyone.
Ephedrine is a good example
What comes to mind first is ephedrine, the key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine. This is found in cold remedies. The rise in methamphetamine addiction and the resulting crime that accompanied the wave of new addicts, prompted officials to monitor and limit the amount of cold medications people were allowed to purchase at one time.
This brought on a brand new flood of abuse, as makers of methamphetamine would recruit people to go to the pharmacy and purchase cold medications. This activity, called “smurfing” was detected by law enforcement through the monitoring of sales at individual pharmacies. A spike in sales was a sure indication that someone was hording the drug, most likely for the manufacturing of meth.
Cough syrup often abused
Teenagers will often abuse cough and cold medications, not to make meth, but to get high. Even though a prescription may not be necessary to purchase these medications, they are nevertheless potentially dangerous and some teens have been known to overdose.
The medications that contain Dextromethorphan are particularly available. Rather than drink the syrup, which can be foul tasting, they take a number of the pills and achieve their objective. Another aspect of the Dextromethorphan is that it is inexpensive, especially compared to the illegal drugs on the street. The problem is the drug is legal and difficult for law enforcement because you can’t arrest a teen for possession or prosecute for taking cough medicine.
Alcohol is certainly an example of over the counter drug abuse.
An obvious over the counter drug that is almost always overlooked is alcohol. It’s available everywhere. People may prefer liquor, such as whiskey or vodka to deliver their drug. Perhaps they prefer beer, or wine. They may choose to brew their own concoction, and there’s even a cable television show about the makers of moonshine.
In any case, it seems to be an element of the human condition that demands we stretch the limits and boundaries of anything which is intended for good. More is not always better. The most common abuse of over the counter drugs occurs when people ignore the safety precautions, dosage instructions, or when they mix pills with alcohol or other drugs.
Diet pills often abused as well
Another over the counter drug abuse favorite is the many “diet” pills offered on the market. Sleeping pills, motion sickness pills and just about any pain medication can be abused.
Parents need to be ever vigilant about what their teenager is getting into. We live in a “pill crazy” society and we are told that there is a pill for just about any ailment. Of course the television commercials tell you to “ask your doctor about ABC.” Any medication, prescription of over-the-counter can be abused when people push the limits.