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Examination of Over-the-Counter Drug Misuse Among Youth1 Erin J. Farley and Daniel J. O’Connell

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Examination of Over-the-Counter Drug Misuse Among Youth by Erin J. Farley and Daniel J. O’Connell

Prepared by: Mary H. Maguire, California State University, Sacramento Article Kim Schnurbush, California State University,Sacramento

Examination of Over-the-Counter Drug Misuse Among Youth1 Erin J. Farley and Daniel J. O’Connell

Learning Outcomes

After reading this article, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the factors that contribute to the prevalence of over- the-counter drug misuse by teens.
  • Analyse the contribution of gender to over-the-counter drug misuse by teens.
  • Discuss possible policy or practice efforts to decrease over- the-counter drug misuse by teens.

Introduction

Potential harm from the intentional misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines among youth has become an area of increased concern among medical practitioners and researchers (Bryner et al. 2006; Lessenger et al. 2008; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2006). Although the likelihood of death from overdose is rare, research has revealed an increase in dextromethorphan (a key ingredient in numerous cough and cold medicines) abuse cases reported to poison control centers (Bryner et al. 2006). Equally important is the suspicion that OTC use may be a stepping stone to other forms of drug misuse and abuse.

While OTC misuse has garnered increased media coverage, it has not yet attracted an equivalent interest among research- ers. Further, it is possible that research to date has inappropri- ately specified the relationship between OTC and other drug misuse. Extant research has examined the relationship between OTC misuse and illicit drug use by utilizing a single construct, limiting the ability to completely flesh out the dimensions of this relationship between drug use. One area that needs further attention is if and how OTC misuse among youth is associated with other types of drug use. By combining all categories of

drugs under a single construct, the nuances of how particular drugs relate to OTC use is diminished. This paper examines the current state of knowledge on OTC misuse by examining the prevalence of OTC misuse and its relationship with other types of drug use among a specific cohort to expand the current understanding of the problem.

Prevalence of OTC Misuse

OTC cough and cold medicines (e.g., Coricidin and Nyquil) can be easily purchased from pharmacies and drug stores. Adolescents typically ingest OTC medicines for the ingredi- ent dextromethorphan (DXM). DXM is a synthetic drug related to opiates, which has the ability to produce effects similar to psychotropic drugs (Bobo et al. 2004; SAMHSA 2006). These effects include sensory enhancement, perceptual distortion, and hallucinations. DXM can be found in as many as 140 differ- ent cold and cough medications (Bobo et al. 2004; SAMHSA 2008). Misuse of these types of OTC drugs often involve youth seeking inexpensive and easily accessible substitute for other drugs that are more difficult to obtain.

Misuse of OTC drugs, especially in combination with other types of drugs, can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including confusion, blurred vision, slurred speech, loss of coor- dination, paranoia, high blood pressure, loss of consciousness, irregular heartbeat, seizure, panic attacks, brain damage, coma, and possibly death (Bobo et al. 2004; Food and Drug Admin- istration 2005). Yet, there is a growing concern that youth who intentionally misuse OTC drugs misperceive that they are safe because these types of drugs are legal and prevalent (Johnston et al. 2006). If this misperception is contributing to the misuse of OTC drugs, the consequences can be serious. On the other hand, this same misperception also points toward potentially efficacious prevention programs focused on educating youth to the harm posed by these drugs.Cousework Help, Rush Essays,  Australian writers, US Writers, UK essays, UK writers, Legal paper writers, A+ Term Papers, , Custom Essay Writing Service