Because they are cheap and very accessible, abuse of over-the-counter medicines is not uncommon. Although the ease of obtaining them can appeal to all ages of those seeking a high, OTC medicines are most often abused by teenagers for these reasons. Keep reading for more information from the best New Jersey rehab on why these drugs could be a danger to your teen.

3 Commonly Abused Over-the-Counter Drugs

Cough Medicine

An active ingredient in cough medicine known as Dextromethorphan is found in over 140 different cough medicines and produces similar effects to morphine when abused. A normal dose of cough medicine is 15-30 mg. Those that abuse this OTC substance sometimes consume up to 600 mg at a time.

55% of teens say they don’t see any danger in getting high off of cough medicine. However, after consuming larger than normal doses, the user can experience insomnia, muscle pain, and psychosis.


Youths 18 years old and younger account for 89% of antihistamine abuse. Oftentimes, abuse occurs in combination with other drugs. Those that abuse this OTC are typically looking for the side effect of hallucinations, which over 70% of users report experiencing along with subsequent confusion. Of those hospitalized after abusing antihistamines, about 70% presented extremely high blood pressure and over 50% experienced tachycardia.


About 175 million Americans exceed the recommended doses of OTC painkillers, with 36 million Americans using them daily. Even though about 16,500 deaths and 103,000 hospitalizations occur annually from pain reliever overdosing, 50% of painkiller users are not concerned about side effects.

The dangers of abusing OTC painkillers include heart attack, stroke, and miscarriage. Permanent liver damage can also occur from just one dose larger than recommended, and 4 out of 100,000 users experience kidney failure.

The Best New Jersey Rehab is Your Resource for OTC Abuse Help

What does the best New Jersey rehab say about OTC drugs?

If you are concerned about someone you know that may be abusing OTC medicine, the Discovery Institute is available to you. With information on intervention, detox centers, and various therapy programs, our mission is to provide high-quality treatment options to the chemically dependent adult population and their families statewide. Contact us today for more information on how to combat substance abuse.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>