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Stop Medicine Abuse Month targets teens who want an easy high

LatinaLista — Ever heard of Tussing? What about Skittling? If you haven’t, then you’re way behind any teenager you may know. Both are forms of abusing drugs — over the counter (OTC) drugs like cough medicine.


It’s a growing trend, along with abusing prescription drugs, among young people who want to get high and find that mom and dad’s medicine cabinet is a convenient, non-threatening and cheap drug supplier.

This month is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in eight Latino teens has abused cough medicine to get high and one in five teens has abused prescription drugs.

In 2007, five women, who were mothers, banded together and created Five Moms to spread the word about medicine abuse. They created the site StopMedicineAbuse to let parents, educators and retailers know the warning signs of medicine abuse, which medicines teens specifically want so as to get high and what are the consequences of abusing medicine as commonplace as cough syrup.

The lone Latina mother, Hilda Morales of El Paso, tells Latina Lista that only 36 percent of Latino teens ever learn from their parents that abusing drugs of any kind is bad for them. For that reason, Hilda provides the bilingual component in this national campaign.

A few of the risks of abusing cough medicine are:

Panic attacks,
Memory problems,
Blurred vision,
Stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting,
High blood pressure and rapid heartbeat,
Numbness of fingers and toes,
Drowsiness and dizziness,
Fever and headaches,
Rashes and itchy skin,
Loss of consciousness

Only 45 percent of teens believe that abusing cough medicine to get high is risky, which means that over half believe it is not. (Partnership for a Drug-free America)

It’s time to start spreading the word.

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