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A staggering new report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stated that 3.1 million Americans ages 12 to 25 have used an over-the-counter cough and cold medicine in order get high.

Cough syrups and cold pills are being used in large doses to get high and induce hallucinations for young people. The 2006 survey was completed with 45,000 people ages 12 to 25 being interviewed. The report also showed that 1 million of young adults are at highest risk of such abuse of medication.

Overall, the level of abuse of these drugs is comparable to levels of LSD, methamphetamine or the drug ecstasy.

The medications most commonly being abused are NyQuil, a Coricidin product, and Robitussin.

As of December 2005, Congress renewed the USA Patriot Act to include the restrictions on sales of medications containing pseudoephedrine which can be used to make methamphetamine. As a result, stores are required to lock up cold medicines such as Sudafed as well as asking consumer to provide a signature and driver’s license, limited to purchasing such medication to one box a day and three per month.

The Drug Enforcement Administration took these first steps in order to help prevent the ongoing abuse of over-the-counter drugs.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on FDA & Prescription Drugs.

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