The subject of drug abuse is one that usually brings to mind images of people shooting up, cocaine, alcohol abuse and what have you. These are all clearly areas where people suffer from addiction, but that doesn't mean there aren't more subtle forms you have to watch out for. Most parents, for instance, don't realize cough medicine is commonly abused by kids in their early teens.

You are probably wondering who would abuse cough syrup and why? The answer is Dextromethorphan. It the is the active ingredient in most cough syrups and acts as a cough suppressant. If taken in larger than recommended dosages, however, it produces hallucinations. Admittedly, one has to drink nearly up to a bottle of cough syrup, but it is becoming a common problem in schools and one parents know almost nothing about. This is particularly true since many families by large amounts of it in warehouse stores along with vitamins, food and what have you.

Why would kids abuse this compared to other drugs? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, most parents are clueless that it is even an issue, so getting caught really isn't a huge deal. After all, would you even bat an eye if your kid walked by with a bottle of cough syrup in it? Probably not.

The second reason for abusing cough syrup has to do with being caught. Not only do most parents not think much of their kids walking around with it, but Dextromethorphan doesn't show up as a noted infraction in drug tests. This means your child can abuse it without fear of any trip to the doctor revealing what they are doing.

The third reason for abuse is very prevalent in schools today – it is cool. Cough syrup is the word of the mouth choice these days with schools across the country reporting as much. This means there is peer pressure to try it and, as we all remember from those days, peer pressure means a lot. If you overhear your child talking about cough syrup or "DXM", sirens should start sounding in your head.

Cough syrup might seem like the least of one's problems when it comes to chemical abuse, but clearly that is not the case. Ah, just what parents need. Another product to watch out for.

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