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The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 3.1 million individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 have abused OTC cough and cold medicine.
The number of young individuals who abused cold medicines is comparable with that for LSD and much greater than that for methamphetamine among the age group, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The 2006 survey found that >5% of teenagers and young adults had misused cough and cold medicines and indicated that these individuals also had tried illicit drugs frequently.
Linda A. Suydam, DPA, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), pointed out that the agency's survey results, as well as results from the December National Institute of Medicine's Monitoring the Future survey, are evidence of the importance of education efforts of many, including CHPA members. "The nation's medicine makers are committed to providing educational programming about medicine abuse in the schools, at retail, with law enforcement, in the community, and online."