At one point or another, we’ve all used prescription drugs or over-the- counter (OTC) medicines to alleviate an illness – whether it’s to relieve pain or curb a cough. Unfortunately, too many young people and adults are abusing these drugs for a quick high.
Nationally, prescription drugs are the second most abused category of drugs after marijuana, with one in five young adults reporting that they have abused a prescription drug. In addition, the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey found that 5 percent of teens have abused over-the-counter cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. When abused in extreme excess—sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose— dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs.