Legal Drug Dilemma

December 06, 2005 1 min read

Sex, drugs and...Robitussin? Many teenagers consider carrying over-the-counter painkillers and cough medications in their backpacks a routine no-brainer—something parents and doctors would recommend for fending off headaches or menstrual cramps.

But a recent study revealed that 9 percent of adolescents surveyed had taken over-the-counter cough medicines to get high, the same percentage that used cocaine, crack and Ecstasy.

While possession of illegal drugs by students typically gets more headlines and elicits more concern, abuse of legal drugs is a very real problem in schools—a problem that often flies under the radar and is difficult for officials to regulate.

Should students be allowed to carry basic over-the-counter medications in school? Will requiring students and parents to notify school officials about the medications students carry prevent abuse of these meds—or just more paperwork?

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.