We came across Fivemoms.com; a site focusing on preventing teen cough medicine abuse. What makes this site even more interesting is that these moms, all from different backgrounds and different parts of the country, might have gone through life without ever meeting. What brought them together? They’ve each been affected in one way or another by cough syrup abuse. One of the moms, Christy Candrell, was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
Pat Moore Foundation: Fivemoms.com is affiliated with StopMedicineAbuse.org and each mom was personally asked to join the cause by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. How did each of the 5 Moms come to be chosen for your campaign against Over the Counter (OTC) cough medicine? We think it’s interesting that each of you come from a different background.
Christy: Each mom brings something different to the campaign based on our individual backgrounds, experiences, and personal networks. Whether it was our own family’s experience with cough medicine abuse, or the work we do with teens in our communities we came together with a common concern: teenagers abusing cough medicine to get high. We were worried not only about our own kids, but about those of our friends and neighbors, too.
So when the Consumer Healthcare Products Association asked us to spread the word to parents, we stepped forward. The idea is a simple one. We will each tell five more moms about this nationwide problem, and they will tell another five, and another five beyond that. Soon, we hope to reach every parent in America with this message: that we must work together to educate our teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse.
Pat Moore Foundation: Your efforts are entering into their 4th year. What would you say are some of your program accomplishments that you’re the most proud of?
Christy: I’m most proud of the sheer number of parents that we’ve reached through the Five Moms campaign. We’ve also had the opportunity to partner with Dr. Drew Pinsky and visit with members of Congress about the steps that can be taken to limit cough medicine abuse among teens.
Pat Moore Foundation: What was the 1st major goal that you set out to achieve?
Christy: Our goal is to reach out to parents and raise awareness of cough medicine abuse in general. In order for parents to arm themselves with prevention strategies, they first have to be aware that the problem exists. My goal since the beginning of the campaign has been to spread the word about medicine abuse to as many parents as possible.
Pat Moore Foundation: Can you share any specific goals for Year 4?
Christy: I want to continue to educate parents, let them know this problem exists, and share the information and resources they need to protect their teens. We are proud that the number of teens abusing cough medicine isn’t increasing, but our job isn’t done. More parents need to be made aware of this disturbing trend that continues to impact our children.
Pat Moore Foundation: In what ways can other parents or teens become involved?
Christy: Parents can help spread the word about cough medicine abuse a number of different ways:
•Share copies of the educational brochure, Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse, with other parents.
•Send an e-mail to their friends and neighbors using the StopMedicineAbuse.org tell-a-friend tool, available in both English and Spanish.
•Join other concerned parents by signing up for the StopMedicineAbuse.org e-newsletter. of
•Visit DXMstories.com with your teen and go through the real-life stories of teens who have abused cough medicine and learn the true dangers of abuse.
Pat Moore Foundation: What would you say are the most common misconceptions or things parents are unaware of when it comes to OTC abuse?
Christy: I think that teens are unaware of the risks of cough medicine abuse and parents are unaware of the power they have to help prevent abuse.
Pat Moore Foundation: What signs did you notice when you were dealing with OTC abuse in your household?
Christy: When my son Ryan, then 18-years-old, was arrested for armed robbery while high on over-the-counter cough medicine and marijuana, shocked doesn’t even begin to describe how we all felt. I had no idea that Ryan was abusing cough medicines to get high. In fact, I had never even imagined that cough medicine abuse was a possibility. Had I been more aware, perhaps I could have prevented Ryan from going down that path. Ryan’s arrest was the most tragic thing that has ever happened to my family. I had put faith in the fact that my children were raised in a normal family and had a good life. I did everything I could as a parent to give them the love and support they needed. The one thing I hadn’t done was educate myself on what dangers were out there. Had I known about the pressures my children were facing and had I been more open to the idea that drug abuse can happen to anyone, perhaps I could have helped Ryan steer away from that path.
Signs that abuse may be taking place include:
• Empty cough medicine boxes or bottles in the trash of your child’s room or in your child’s backpack or school locker
• Purchase or use of large amounts of cough medicine when not ill
• Missing boxes or bottles of medication from the medicine cabinet
• Visiting pro-drug websites that provide information on how to abuse dextromethorphan
• Internet orders (for example, note the arrival of unexpected packages, or payments by credit card or PayPal account)
• Changes in friends, physical appearance, or sleeping or eating patterns
• Declining grades
• Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
• Hostile and uncooperative attitude
• Unexplained disappearance of household money
• Unusual chemical or medicinal smells on your child or in his or her room
• Hearing your child use certain slang terms for DXM abuse, such as Skittling, Tussing, Robo-Tripping, Triple Cs, Robo-tripping, and Dex
Pat Moore Foundation: Do you or any of the other moms have blogs or any other accounts that fans can subscribe to &mdash to stay in touch with your work?
Christy: I encourage other parents, school administrators, law enforcement professionals and concerned members of the community to join us on Twitter and Facebook. We also post weekly articles to FiveMoms.com and send out monthly updates with tips, news and resources.