Ten Over-the-Counter Medications Abused by Teens

Abuse of over-the-counter drugs is common in teens between 13-16 years. Teens can find a high right in their family’s medicine cabinets without being caught. Young adults have also abused over-the-counter drugs, particularly in combination with other drugs like alcohol.

The ten most abused drugs by teenagers and young adults are;

  • Dextromethorphan – is an active ingredient in more than 100 over-the-counter cough drugs such as Nyquil and Robitussin.
  • Pain relievers – adults and teens often take painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in higher than the recommended doses because they think the drug can work faster with huge amounts.
  • Caffeine medicine and energy drinks – OTC caffeine pills or pain relievers have been abused for the jolt of energy they seem to cause. Large doses of caffeine can cause dehydration, gastric reflux and panic attacks
  • Diet pills – diet pills can cause a mild buzz in large doses. For this reason, teenagers tend to use them for this calm buzz feeling.
  • Pseudoephedrine – is a nasal decongestant and stimulant found in cold medications. Teenagers have misused the medicine to cause an excitable, hyperactive feeling.
  • Sexual performance medicines – OTC sexual performance drugs are often purchased via the internet for use in adults and teenagers who want to counter the effect of drinking on sexual performance.
  • Motion sickness pills – motion sickness pills containing Dramamine cause a “high feeling” in large doses and make one feel symptoms similar to street drugs.
  • Laxatives and herbal diuretics – the commonly abused laxatives include uva-Ursa, goldenseal, and rose hips.
  • Herbal eEcstasy – Herbal Ecstacy is a combination of inexpensive herbs that are illegally sold in pill form and swallowed, smoked, or snorted to impart a feeling of euphoria, increased awareness, or sexual stimulation.
  • Other herbal products – some herbs are increasingly being abused for their hallucinogenic and stimulating effects. They include salvia and nutmeg.

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