While use of illegal drugs is down among teens, use of DXM and other over-the-counter drugs is on the rise from eighth grade onward, says Michael Windle, PhD, chair of behavior sciences and health education at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health.
The "herbal" moniker may make teens think the drugs are safe or even healthful, warns Windle
, leader of a landmark, 20-year study of the long-term effects of teen substance abuse.
says that since these drugs are not illegal, teens often feel that they are more acceptable to peers and even to parents than are illegal drugs such as marijuana.
warns that "these products can produce a very severe side effect that under some conditions could require hospitalization or even result in death."