1 in 10 teenagers has abused cough medicine.
5 Moms are trying to change that…

by Susan

Did you know that 1 in 10 teenagers has abused cough medicine? Does that sound ridiculous? It did to me…

But overdosing on cough medicine is happening everywhere… Is your child one of the 2.4 million who has tried it?

“Cough medicine abuse involves taking an extreme amount of cough medicine–bottle after bottle or pills after pills–to get high. The “high” is caused by dextromethorphan (DXM), a common ingredient found in many cough medicines. DXM is a safe and effective ingredient when taken in the correct doses. When abused in large quantities, however, it can produce a number of dangerous side effects.”
Five Moms

“Shedding light on the issue is what the Five Moms campaign is all about. Five Moms is group of parents who are talking about cough medicine abuse. Fivemoms.com provides information about DXM abuse; a guide to talking with your kids about the problem; information on how to recognize the signs of abuse; and, most importantly, tools for telling other parents about the risks.”

Janice talked to Hilda from Five Moms and Mimi from CHPA about how the Five Moms is taking action to help make moms aware of this devastating problem.

Spreading the Word about Cough Medicine Abuse from 5 Minutes for Mom on Vimeo.

The 5 Moms are helping parents realize that sometimes when teens appear to be online doing their homework they may be using the Internet to read or post instructions or stories about their latest DXM “trips”.

If you have a teenager, you MUST visit Fivemoms.com and find out what you need to know.

Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rona December 3, 2008 at 9:16 am

After reading this post I wasn’t surprised. Yes, teens are abusing cough medicine. Now, what do we want to do about it?

Mom of a 16 year old son


2 Queen-sized funny bone December 3, 2008 at 10:41 am

My nephew was having a problem with Nyquil and my sister had to get a handle on what was going on in her house.


3 Susan December 3, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Rona, good point… what are we going to do about it?

I think that the 5 Moms are trying to first create awareness b/c so many parents don’t even know the problem exists. And if they don’t know, they really can’t do anything about it.

To be honest, I personally get very overwhelmed at the thought of “What can we do to stop it?”… And I definitely need to turn to people like you who have teens and to other experts in the area.

It would be fantastic if we could add some links here to resources for taking action!

Here are a few links I came across when I was researching for this post:



Okay Ladies… who knows of some additional resources for help.


4 Jamaise December 3, 2008 at 9:31 pm

I had no idea. I have a teen, & I’ve never heard of it. I will open the topic with my son & see what he knows about it. Thanks for the post.


5 Karen Luedy December 4, 2008 at 1:10 pm

This problem is so out of control……my son is 21 and he has been clean now for 4 years….he had a problem with drugs, I got him in rehab and he turned to cold and cough medicine that did not show up in drug tests (that’s why you need a driver’s license to buy comtrex)…When he couldn’t find medicine to get high on, he was huffing (spraying cans into a freezer bag and inhaling)….I am an ICU/ER nurse and I was trying everything in my power…..he OD on tylenol when he got desparate and wanted to die, which is very toxic as tylenol kills the liver, he actually ended up in my ICU for 5 days. A big thing that kids try to get high on is the spray to clean the keyboard, and this instantly kills them as it “freezes” the lungs. Also, please watch out for “wet” pot dipped in embalming fluid. I have seen the results first had, where teens end up unable to feed or toilet themselves ever again from using “wet” just one time. Kids now a days have no idea of the danger and permanent damage they are causing themselves. I ended up having to go the tough love route after rehab failed twice…I had him locked up in the juvenile system for 1 year and did not see him…..When he got out he was a new person. It was hard, and the stories he told me make me cry, but he is alive, working, happy, and is the best father to his 17 month old son. I am so proud of him!!! And so thankful I didn’t lose him (he tried suicide several times including a hanging in my basement). It was a very difficult road as I am a divorced mom of 4 with no help from the father…. Anyone who needs help Catholic Charities provide the financial help and mental support I needed to deal with all of this. They saved my son’s life!!


6 casual friday everyday December 5, 2008 at 8:09 pm

I can’t say that I’m surprised. Not much surprised me when it comes to teens but it does give me a bit of a scare thinking about what my boys will face in their teens. I better keep on top of things when they are pre-teens because I need to know what I’m facing as a parent.



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