Over-The-Counter Drugs

Just as prescription medications can be abused, so too can over-the-counter drugs. These drugs are cheap and easy to pick up at the drug store, and the practice has become prevalent among our youth. There are scores and scores of such drugs: stimulants, sleep aids, digestive aids, cough syrup and so on, all non-prescription in nature, but consider this fact: abusers of these drugs – often children and teens – report taking 30-50 times the recommended dosage. This constitutes a recipe for disaster for a child and a four-alarm fire for a parent. What OTC drugs are commonly abused?


DXM is slang for dextromethorphan – the active ingredient found in cough suppressant drugs such as Robitussin, Over-The-Counter DrugsTriaminic – and is taken for its dissociative, euphoric and even hallucinogenic effects. If an index of a drug’s prominence is the number of slang names it has adopted, then this particular drug appears to top the list, with names such as dex, candy, poor man’s PCP, red devils, velvet, vitamin D, robo, skittles, syrup, tussin, rome, cherries, CCC, triple C and Candy Coated Chaos.

The “CCC” originally referred to the medicine “Coricidin Cough and Cold.” In addition to dextromethorphan, such compounds also contain an antihistamine (anti-inflammatory) or acetaminophen (pain reliever). These combinations – taken at abusive doses – are even more dangerous to the user.

The effects of high doses of DXM include excessive sweating, skin irritation, shortness of breath, slurred speech, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Excessive abuse can lead to liver damage, heat stroke, brain damage, coma and even death. The risk of injury or death is compounded when the user attempts to drive – and when mixed with alcohol we have a formula for catastrophe.

Diet and Caffeine Pills

Diet, weight loss or “energy” pills are taken for their stimulant or appetite curbing effects. You can find an overabundance of these online, at retail outlets and at the checkout counter of your local convenience store or gas station. Diet pills include titles like Stacker 2, Zantrex-3 and Hoodia. Energy or caffeine pills go by names such as Bolt Me Up, Magnum and Jet Alert. While caffeine or coffee is not generally considered harmful, it is in fact a stimulant drug and can be abused. Children and teens are known to load up, pop pills and crush them for immediate effect, laying the groundwork for increased tolerance and escalating to prescription drug abuse (and beyond).

Misuse can result in headaches, vomiting, irritability, shallow breathing and heart palpitations. These and other stimulants are particularly harmful to people with high blood pressure or heart problems, leading to symptoms like irregular heartbeat, seizure, and stroke.

Other Over-The-Counter Drugs

Specific over-the-counter drugs have raised questions as to their general safety, whether in normal dosage or not. Sominex and Nytol are sleep aids containing diphenhydramine hydrochloride. Side effects of this chemical have been found to include cognitive decline, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, headaches, urinary problems, blurred vision and convulsions.

We all know about drugs intended to relieve indigestion and stomach problems. A certain class of these – including Prilosec, Pepcid, and Axid – contain chemical agents whose function is to reduce the production of stomach acid. While this may produce immediate relief, long-term use can exacerbate the same problems the person sought to remedy. The outcome can include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn and more serious side-effects.

OTC Drugs



Talk to your kids about over-the-counter drugs abuse. It’s not a light matter. Learn about holistic and natural means to calm nerves, lose weight, increase energy and improve state of mind. Pay attention to what you’re eating. Try whole and organic foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. For energy, try superfood blasts packed with real nutrients. Are you and your family exercising daily and getting fresh air?  Over to you!




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