HHS releases survey on drug use among teens and young adults

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday published its annual Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Association’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey, which reported about 3.1 million children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 had misused an over-the-counter medicine to get high in their lifetime, and almost 1 million had done so in the past year.

Among youths aged 12 to 17, females were more likely than males to have misused OTC cough-cold medications in the past year, but among young adults aged 18 to 25, males were more likely than females to have misused these medications 

Among persons aged 12 to 25 who had misused an OTC cough-cold medication in the past year, 30.5 percent misused a NyQuil product, 18.1 percent misused a Coricidin product and 17.8 percent misused a Robitussin product 

“SAMHSA’s annual study provides some valuable insight for parents and healthcare professionals to better understand teen behaviors, and we commend the survey authors for examining the troubling trend of young people abusing medicines to get high,” stated Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “The leading makers of OTC cough medicines are working tirelessly to raise awareness about cough medicine abuse and welcome these data to help inform adults about this dangerous behavior,” she said.

“CHPA and the makers of over-the-counter cough medicines remain dedicated to building on the successes of our multi-year educational campaign and are looking forward to the new programming 2008 will bring with our partners, including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Parent Teacher Association, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, D.A.R.E. America, and the online Five Moms campaign,” Suydam added. “Our goal is to make sure parents are aware of this type of abuse and most importantly, are talking to their kids about the risks involved with abusing cough medicine.”