Teens abuse over the counter, prescription drugs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teens abuse over the counter, prescription drugs

July 30, 2007

Thomasville --  It's a growing drug abuse trend. More young people are abusing easy-to-access over the counter and prescription drugs. Drug education officers say if kids think that's not dangerous, they're wrong. Deputies in Thomas County say this school year, they plan to crack down.

Thomas County D.A.R.E. Officer Sgt. Steven Jones says teen drug abuse is a different game in schools today. "Drug use is down in every category except one. That one category being over the counter and prescription drugs."

Cold medicines, with an ingredient called dextromethorphan, are the most common source of over the counter drug abuse.

 "Kids are figuring out, learning from the Internet, learning from their friends that cold medications give them a particular kick or feeling that they're looking for," says Jones.

Most parents don't realize, kids are using what's right in their own medicine cabinet to get high. The best idea is to keep these items, along with your prescriptions, in a place where kids can't get to them."

 "It's easy access, it's right there in the home, in the medicine cabinet, that's where so many of them get it," says Jones.

At Thomas county schools, the sheriff's office dealt with around half a dozen cases last school year, but they say there probably were even more than that. Here, authorities have mainly discovered teens abusing a drug called, Coricidin, a brand of over the counter cold tablets.

"It's illegal for them to have those on campus. Anything they bring on campus they're supposed to take to the school nurse and we're going to try to do a better job this year of cracking down on that."

Small amounts of the drugs are fine, but officers say many teens are ignoring use and dosage labels, a dangerous idea.

"They're experimenting, and that's what's scary because this stuff can cause some really serious side effects, as well as can kill them."

With a special eye on the look out for over the counter meds, DARE officers say this school year their zero-tolerance drug policy will be enforced more strongly than ever.

This week during planning, D.A.R.E. officers in Thomas county are educating school staff on what these drugs look like and the signs to look for in kids who use the drugs.

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