Five Moms Campaign Working to Prevent Teen Medicine Abuse

Five Moms Campaign Working to Prevent Teen Medicine Abuse

06.21.12 | By Kaelan Hollon

Today we have a guest post from Emily Skor, Vice President of Communications and Alliance Development for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Recently, the Partnership at DrugFree.org reported that marijuana abuse among teens is up 80 percent from 2008. However, it is important to know that drug abuse is not just limited to illicit drugs. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines that are found in your medicine cabinet can be abused by teens. In fact, the Partnership at DrugFree.org found that a third of all teens surveyed thought that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs. In addition, many parents are unaware that, according the Monitoring the Future Study, 5 percent of teens abuse OTC cough medicine containing dextromethorphan (DXM). Medicine abuse is a problem - but it is one we can prevent.

StopMedicineAbuse.org's Five Moms campaign was created in 2007 to help raise awareness among parents about teens abusing cough medicine to get high. Bringing together moms from around the country, the Five Moms routinely share their personal stories, and work within their communities to encouraging parents to:

  • Educate themselves on medicine abuse;
  • Talk with their children about the risks of such abuse;
  • Safeguard medicines in their homes; and
  • Spread the word to other parents.

May marked the fifth anniversary of the Five Moms campaign; as with every year, the focus continues to be on utilizing these dynamic spokeswomen to spread the word about cough medicine abuse and inspire action in their communities. Among their many community-based activities, the moms' efforts include a local book club about addiction and recovery, an outpatient drug rehab treatment center for teens, and participating in speaking engagements at their community centers, libraries and churches.

After learning more about this campaign, you might be inspired to take action. The following are a few simple steps you can take to help combat medicine abuse in your home and community:

  1. Be more vigilant in talking with your teen: During conversations with your teens, it is critical to point out that abusing OTC medicines can be just as dangerous as abusing other drugs.
  2. Be an ambassador in your community In your local community: Even the smallest action can reverberate throughout a community so get out there and start talking.
  3. Be an inspiration to other parents: Attending a local PTA meeting, talking to your school nurse about their resources, or starting a book club make an impact.
  4. Be knowledgeable: Educate yourself about prescription and OTC medicine abuse, and the steps to prevent it like safeguarding your medicines.
  5. Be online: Social media is a great way to stay connected to your peers and your children, as well as spread the word about OTC and prescription medicine abuse. Join the conversation with the Five Moms on Facebook, Twitter and their blog.

Medicine abuse is a problem among teenagers, but it is one that together we can prevent.

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