It's that time of year. You know, Christmas music blaring from loudspeakers, eggnog with a dash of rum, frantic shopping forays, and the sniffles. Well, before you reach for the cough medicine, there's something else to consider.
While we're all celebrating the joyous Holiday Season, it's important to remember that not everyone is "naturally" so joyous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as many as 4.2 percent of 8th, 5.3 percent of 10th and 6.9 percent of 12th graders have abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines with dextromethorphan to get high.
Now, I'm the first to admit that, as a child, I hated cough medicine (yuch!), so it never would have occurred to me to take it voluntarily. But either the flavor's much improved, or our kids are more, um, "sophisticated." Either way, it's stuff that's pretty easy to obtain, and even easier to ingest.
So what's the big deal? I mean, it's just cough medicine, for crying out loud. How much harm can it do?
You'd be surprised:
In addition to dizziness and double or blurred vision (anyone with teenage drivers?), you can add slurred speech and loss of physical coordination. Not only that, but the FDA says that "abuse of the drug can cause death as well as other serious adverse events such as brain damage, seizure, loss of consciousness, and irregular heart beat."
So while you're celebrating the season, don't forget to keep an eye on the medicine chest, and the kids.
Henry Stern, LUTCF is an independent insurance agent in Dayton, OH. A licensed Continuing Education instructor for Ohio and Kentucky, he has well over 20 years of experience in “the biz.” He blogs every day (or so it seems) at InsureBlog.