Following is a statement by Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), regarding today's release of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Monitoring the Future survey:
"Findings released today on this year's Monitoring the Future survey speak to the need for continued efforts to educate and empower parents with the information they need to talk to their teens about medicine abuse. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) believes these findings serve as a reminder of the importance of education and talking to teens about the dangers of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse. While we are pleased to see that rates of cough medicine abuse have not increased in the past year, consistency is key in the effort to educate teens about the dangers of medicine abuse. CHPA wants to remind parents to continue to maintain an ongoing dialogue with their teens to prevent the risk of medicine abuse affecting their family. The leading makers of OTC cough medicines will continue their commitment to engage parents and raise awareness about the dangers of the abuse of cough medicines containing the active ingredient, dextromethorphan. The Monitoring the Future study is conducted out of the University of Michigan and is considered one of the preeminent teen substance abuse surveys in the United States.
"Since 2003, CHPA and the leading makers of OTC cough medicines have been engaged in a multi-pronged public health education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of abusing OTC cough medicines. Teens looking to get high take excessive amounts--sometimes 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage of dextromethorphan. Often, they are abusing cough medicines with other prescription drugs and alcohol. The campaign has grown to include a number of key partners, including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, D.A.R.E. America, and WebMD. In addition to our education agenda, CHPA also advocates for a federal law to prohibit the sale of dextromethorphan-containing cough medicines to those under the age of 18 as an added tool for parents to help prevent teen cough medicine abuse.
"CHPA's work to prevent teen cough medicine abuse is comprehensive, and includes lesson plans for school-aged children, toolkits to spark community involvement, and an online resource at StopMedicineAbuse.org to educate parents and other teen influencers and enlist them to help spread the word. The latest advancement in the overall campaign is the introduction of a new educational icon presented on the packaging of most OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan. This icon serves as a mini public service announcement for parents, making them aware of the issue of cough medicine abuse among teens, and pointing them to StopMedicineAbuse.org where they can access the resources they need to talk to their teens about the issue.
"Parents have far more power than they realize to keep their kids drug-free. Teens who learn a lot about the dangers of drug abuse from their parents are up to half as likely to abuse drugs. Even if their teens don't have an issue, parents need to realize that their children live in a world where the issue exists.
"We continue to encourage parents to visit StopMedicineAbuse.org and:
- Educate themselves about the problem of medicine abuse among teens.
- Share what they learn with other parents in their community.
- Talk to their teens about substance abuse, including cough medicine abuse.
- Safeguard and take a regular inventory of home medicine cabinets.
- Monitor their teen's Internet use for sites that offer information supporting the inappropriate use or abuse of medicines.
- Seek the help of a professional if they think their child has a substance abuse problem."
Consumer Healthcare Products Association