The Need for Drug Detox and Rehab Could Be Avoided by Eliminating Gateway Drug

The Need for Drug Detox and Rehab Could Be Avoided by Eliminating Gateway Drug

August 2007 has been renamed National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month after S. Resolution 225 passed through the Senate in July. Fueled by an increase in the number of young people abusing medicines, this resolution serves to educate parents and teens about the dangers of medicine abuse. We are witnessing the development a new "gateway drug": it starts in medicine cabinets with seemingly harmless over-the-counter remedies, but can accelerate to abuse of dangerous prescription drugs that could result in the need for drug detox and rehab.

What is this new gateway drug? Dextromethorphan - a cough suppressant found in many over the counter medications, including Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Cough Medicine®, PediaCare® and some types of Robitussin®, Tylenol® and Sudafed® cough medicines. Though some parents may find it hard to believe their teen would use cough medicines inappropriately, research by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America reports that one in 10 young people age 12-17 have used cough medicine to get high. How many of these kids will go on to other drugs and end up in drug detox or rehab isn't known, but be aware that it is a possibility.

This abuse is so prevalent that it has it own set of terminology. Parents should be aware of slang for the drug - Dex, DXM and Robo - and slang for using the drug - Robo-ing or Robo-tripping. It is with this in mind that WebMD made available a glossary of slang terms relating to teen drug abuse.

Town Hall meetings are taking place all over the country with the purpose of informing the community about this potentially deadly addiction. A team of experts in Lee County, Florida also recently filmed a special called "A Dose of Prevention" to be aired this month on Lee-TV, Cape-TV, Fort Myers-TV, Bonita-TV, and the Lee County School District Educational Television Channel. Statistics have shown that Lee County young people are twice as likely to misuse prescription drugs as teens in other areas of Florida.

Florida drug detox centers are already braced for prescription drug addiction admissions: Drug enforcement officials say that illegal prescription drug abuse has reached unprecedented levels in Florida, and is now considered a "serious threat to the health and safety of Florida citizens." State medical examiners report that five people die every day in Florida as a direct result of using illegally obtained dangerous prescription drugs.

Could all this start with cough medicines? You bet.

Hopefully, with S. Resolution 225 in place, awareness will indeed increase and young people in Florida and the rest of the county will know the potentially deadly effects of seemingly innocuous medicine. Take note of what is in your medicine cabinet, for it could be the next gateway drug. If you take action to stop the abuse now, you could avoid having to find a prescription drug detox center for them in the future.

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