Over The Counter Drug Abuse


One of the easiest ways to get a high, a rush, a quick buzz go to the local convenience store, purchase a few pills over the counter and wait for the effect. Throughout the years over-the-counter drugs have been a source of abuse and misuse. These drugs are easy to come by and can be bought without a prescription. Most of these drugs are not monitored and anyone can purchase them. The side effects, addiction, heart palpitations, blackouts, seizures, even death are a long after thought for a quick high.

Cold and cough medications, sleeping pills, weight loss pills, motion sickness pills and many other over-the-counter medications are being used by teens. Cold and cough medicines are become very popular for recreational use by teens. These drugs are usually cheap, easy to come by, and leave the user feeling as if they have just been on a great “trip”.

Over The Counter Cough and Cold Medicine Abuse

Cold and cough medicine bought over-the-counter contains a chemical, Dextromethorphan (DXM), found in more than 100 non-prescription medications for cold and cough. Cold medicines such as NyQuil, Robitussin, and Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold all contain DXM. Coricidin is packaged in pill form and is much easier to take a few pills than to drink a bottle of syrup. DXM is a synthetic drug similar to morphine.

Abuse of Sleep-Aids, Diet Pills, and Motion Sickness Pills


Using over-the-counter sleep-aids may sound harmless. When taken in high quantities these drugs can lead to extreme drowsiness, disturbed sleep patterns, and continue into more severe effects such as Narcolepsy. Diet pills promise the user to lose many pounds in a short amount of time, increase energy, and decrease appetite. These pills are often made for adults and contain harmful substances that are not well regulated by the FDA. Diet pills are often taken not only to lose weight, but also to get high. Stimulants are often used in diet pills. Stimulants increase metabolism, increase heart rate, and lead to a decrease in appetite. Misuse of these pills has lead to death in many teens as well as adults. Dramamine, a common motion sickness pill, is used by teens in large quantities to induce hallucinations.

Effects of Over The Counter Drugs

Over-the-Counter drugs can cause serious side effects. When not taken correctly, as directed on the label, over-the-counter medications can cause depression, brain damage, heart damage, stroke, seizure, liver complications, and many other serious complications to bodily functions.

Signs of Abuse

Over-the-counter drug use has signs and symptoms similar to other drug use. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Delusions
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Poor coordination
  • Sleep Irregularity

Over-the-counter drug abuse can be just as harmful to your body and mind as street drugs, prescription drugs, and other substances when used incorrectly.