OTC Drugs

The Facts About Over-the-Counter Drugs

Just because you can buy over the counter drugs legally, doesn’t make them safe. It’s easy for kids to get their hands on over-the-counter drugs at pharmacies, grocery stores or convenience stores. You don’t need a prescription, and they’re not expensive. Most of the pills and liquids that are abused are used to treat symptoms of common colds, headaches or pain. When taken as prescribed on the packaging, they are safe. But when they’re taken to get “high,” it can be very dangerous, and even deadly. Oftentimes kids mix OTC drugs with alcohol, which is even more dangerous. It’s important to talk to your teens about your expectations and consequences, because when you talk, they listen.

Slang Terminology: Candy, C-C-C, drex, DM, red devils, triple C, robo, rojo, skittles, tussin, vitamin D and velvet.


  • Impaired judgment and mental functioning
  • Loss of coordination and dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hot flashes
  • Numbness of fingers and toes
  • Hallucinations
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Mood swings and changes in normal habits or appearance


  • Dangerous reactions with other medications or alcohol
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Permanent liver or brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Death