New Study: 3+ Million Adolescents -Young Adults Have Abused OTC Cough / Cold Medicines

About 3.1 million people in the United States aged 12 to 25 (5.3 percent of this age group) have used over-the-counter (non-prescription) cough and cold medicines to get high at least once in their lifetimes, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The level is comparable to LSD, and more than the reported use of methamphetamines, among those aged 12 to 25. White youths were more than three times as likely as Black youths to have misused these drugs during the past year. Overdosing on many cough and cold medications may result in serious life-threatening adverse reactions. Adverse reactions include blurred vision, loss of physical coordination, intense abdominal pain, vomiting, uncontrolled violent muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, delirium and death. Patterns of misuse of non-prescription drugs varied among demographic groups. Females aged 12 to 17 were more likely than their male counterparts to have misused these drugs within the past year (2.3 percent vs. 1.5 percent). But among those aged 18 to 25, more males had misused these drugs in the past year than females (1.8 percent vs. 1.3 percent). Among all persons aged 12 to 25, the rate of past year misuse among whites (2.1 percent) was three times higher than among blacks (0.6 percent) and significantly higher than among Hispanics (1.4 percent). The full report on non-prescription cough and cold medication is available on the Web at http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k8/cough/cough.cfm. Copies may be obtained free of charge by calling SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1- 877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Request inventory number NSDUH08-0110.
http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/0801091855.aspx