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Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse More Common in Boys: Study

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A new study suggests boys are more likely than girls to abuse over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The study of middle school and high school students in 133 schools in Cincinnati found 10 percent said they abused over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup or decongestants.

University of Cincinnati researchers noted this type of drug abuse can lead to accidental poisoning, seizures and physical and mental addictions.

HealthDay reports the researchers found high rates of over-the-counter drug abuse were found among both female and male middle school students, but boys had a higher risk of longtime use, compared with girls. Teens who admitted to abusing over-the-counter drugs were more likely to say they had gone to parties where the drugs were available, or had friends who abused the drugs.

Teens involved in school clubs, sports, community and church groups were less likely to report abusing over-the-counter drugs. “Findings from this study highlight and underscore OTC drugs as an increasing and significant health issue affecting young people,” Rebecca Vidourek, Assistant Professor of Health Promotion, said in a news release.

The study was presented at the American Public Health Association meeting.

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