Over the Counter Drug Abuse
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.