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Preventing teen drug-abuse

The editorial calling for parents to be alert to teen medicine abuse provided a great service to parents. Alerts such as these are key to protecting our teens from this potentially dangerous, but largely unknown, substance abuse problem (“Teens and prescription drugs,” Tuesday). In fact, research shows that teens who talk to their parents about drug abuse are half as likely to abuse drugs.

Parents should be on alert for over-the-counter medicine abuse in addition to prescription medicine abuse. With 2.4 million teens reporting they have abused cough medicine to get high sometimes taking 25 to 50 times the recommended dose parents need to safeguard their medicine cabinets like they do their liquor cabinets.

The good news is that there are places parents can go to educate themselves and help their youngsters steer clear of medicine abuse. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents the leading makers of over-the-counter cough medicines, has numerous educational campaigns to raise awareness among parents about the dangers of cough medicine abuse. The recently inaugurated Web-based campaign FiveMoms.comprovides parents with the tools they need to safeguard their medicine cabinets and asks each person the campaign touches to tell five friends.

We also have teamed up with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and D.A.R.E. America to encourage parents, teachers, substance-abuse prevention experts, law enforcement officials, school administrators and others to learn about medicine abuse and how to prevent it.

LINDA A. SUYDAM

President

Consumer Healthcare Products

Association

Washington

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