Teenage Drug Abuse

Recent reports have exposed a dangerous trend among teenagers and young adults concerning the intentional abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications.

Vicks® wants to help protect teens from the dangers of medicine abuse, but needs your help as parents to accomplish this goal. Experts report that medicine abuse can be prevented with a good child-parent relationship. In fact, teens who talk to their parents about medicine abuse are half as likely to engage in this behavior.

Because OTC drugs are legal and accessible, young people might not realize how powerful they can be. It’s important to know the facts about OTC drugs and warn your children. Let them know that OTC products are not "safer" to misuse simply because they are legal, have a legitimate purpose, and are easy to buy.

Other ways you can protect your children include:

  • Monitoring the OTC drugs in your home, and keeping track of how much medicine is in each bottle.
  • Avoiding overstocking OTC drugs in your home.
  • Not allowing your child to keep OTC drugs in his bedroom, backpack, or school locker.
  • Monitoring your child's Internet use and watching out for sites your child might be visiting that promote OTC drug abuse.
  • Being a role model for responsible use of OTC and prescription medications

Talking with your child about the responsible use of OTC drugs is one of the best ways to keep your child safe. Teach your child how to read and follow directions on the labels of all OTC drugs, and always monitor your child's use of these medications. OTC drugs are meant to help people, not hurt, so ensure your child knows the health risks of abusing medicines.

Vicks® products should only be used as directed for their intended purpose, which is why we’ve teamed up with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association®. Visit to get the resources and information you need to communicate with your children—as well as guides for those suffering from cough, cold, and flu symptoms—to help everyone make informed and educated decisions.

For more information, check out this information about the safety of over-the-counter medications.

Was this article helpful?