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New Partnership for a Drug-Free America 20th Annual Study Shows Progress in Teens Recognizing Dangers of OTC Cough Medicine Abuse
Date:2/26/2009

Makers of OTC cough medicines committed to continuing multi-pronged effort to raise awareness

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New survey data released today by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers some promising news regarding teens and the abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines. According to the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey (PATS), a national study of teen behavior and attitudes about drugs and alcohol, an increased number of teens view the intentional abuse of OTC cough medicines as risky. PATS indicates 48 percent of teens now understand this abuse is dangerous, up significantly from 45 percent in 2007.

"We welcome this new data as a signal that the efforts of the leading makers of over-the-counter cough medicines in past years is making a difference," remarked Linda A. Suydam, president, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). Lifetime abuse rates among teens for OTC cough medicines has not increased from previous PATS data and has remained relatively flat over the past few years: 10 percent, or roughly 2.4 million teens, report ever having abused an OTC cough medicine to get high. Federal research released in December 2008 shows a slight overall decrease in annual OTC abuse rates among teens.

"The relationship between increased perception of risk and lower abuse rates is well known in the prevention community," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. "More teens seeing the abuse of cough medicine as dangerous is a very positive indication. And, while the study shows that 37 percent of teens reported learning a lot about the risks of drug abuse from their parents -- a significant 16 percent increase from the previous year -- too many parents are still missing crucial opportunities to talk about the intentional abuse of medicines."

One troubling result in the study of over 6,500 teens
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SOURCE Consumer Healthcare Products Association
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