Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as cough and cold remedies, can be used to get high. Many of these products are widely available and can be purchased at supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. Many of the OTC drugs that are intended to treat headaches, sinus pressure, or cold/flu symptoms contain the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM). When taken in high doses, DXM can produce a "high" feeling and can be extremely dangerous in excessive amounts.

Over-the-counter drug abuse also occurs with laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills.   These are often used in order to achieve an idealized weight. Ephedrine, caffeine, and phenylpropranolamine are just some of the dangerous and addictive substances found in diet pills. All of these substances act as stimulants to the central nervous system, and much like speed, can have serious and potentially fatal side effects.


Short-term effects: impaired judgment, nausea, loss of coordination, headache, vomiting, loss of consciousness, numbness of fingers and toes, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, aches, seizures, panic attacks, psychosis, euphoria, cold flashes, dizziness, and diarrhea.

Long-term effects: addiction, restlessness, insomnia, high-blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, coma, or even death.


Mixing alcohol with certain OTC drugs can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, and loss of coordination. It can put users at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing.


Yes. The point at which users may overdose on OTC drugs varies depending on the amount of the drugs they took, over what time period, and if other drugs were mixed. Some OTC drugs are weak and cause minor distress, while others are very strong and can cause more serious problems or even death. If overdose is suspected seek staff or medical help out immediately.


Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. At normal body levels, testosterone triggers the onset of male secondary sexual characteristics during puberty and boosts muscle development and growth. Along these lines, steroids make muscles bigger and bones stronger. Doctors can sometimes prescribe anabolic steriods, legally, to treat problems such as delayed puberty and other medical problems that cause the body to make very low amounts of testosterone.


 'roids, rocket fuel, juice.


Steroids are available in both pill and liquid form for injection.


Some adults and teens use anabolic steroids illegally in order to lower body fat, get bigger muscles, and increase strength. They usually use these drugs because they are seeking to improve how well they play sports or how they look.

The dose of illegal anabolic steroids is usually 10 to 100 times higher than the dose a doctor prescribes for medical problems. People often use more than one of these illegal drugs at the same time. This is called stacking. Or they may take the drugs in a cycle from no drug to a high dose over a period of weeks to months. This is called pyramiding.


Anabolic steroids can cause serious side effects. Some of these effects can be    permanent.  In men, anabolic steroids can: reduce sperm count, shrink the testicles,  cause infertility, and enlarge the breasts.  In women, anabolic steroids can: increase body hair, make skin rough, decrease breast size, and deepen the voice.

In both men and women, anabolic steroids can cause: bone growth to stop before it is complete in teenagers, (as a result, the teen may not reach his or her full adult height), heart attack or stroke, (even in a very young person), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease and possibly liver cancer, oily skin and acne, male-pattern hair loss, irritability, rage, and uncontrolled high energy (mania), or false beliefs (delusions).

Abuse Potential

An intense psychological dependence can quickly result from steroid use. People who   abuse anabolic steroids can have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. Symptoms include having mood swings, being extremely tired, having no desire to eat, and craving steroids.  Additionally, Depression and suicidal thoughts are common during withdrawal.


How is Steroid Abuse Treated?

Treatment for abuse of anabolic steroids has not been well studied. Doctors usually advise treatment in a program that includes medicines for withdrawal symptoms and other health problems, treatment in a hospital (if withdrawal symptoms are severe), and individual or family counseling.


Over the Counter Drugs and Steroid Abuse Work Sheet



  1. What addictive and dangerous substance is typically found in over the counter drugs used to treat headaches, sinus pressure, and cold/flu symptoms?


  1. List three addictive and dangerous substances found in diet pills:


  1. List five short term health effects of abusing OTC’s:


  1. List five long term health effects of abusing OTC’s:


  1. True or False: Mixing alcohol with OTC’s will cause no added negative health effects. (If false, please write the correct answer)


  1. True or False:  Death can result from overdosing on OTC’s

(If false, please write the correct answer)


  1. What are steroids? 


  1. True or false: Steroids are sometimes used illegally for medical purposes.         (If false, please write the correct answer)


  1. List three reasons why adults & teenagers might choose to use steroids illegally:


  1. The dose of illegal steroids is usually how many times higher then a normal medical dose?
    1. 5 to 8
    2. 4 to 20
    3. 10 to 100
    4. 100 to 1000


  1. List two negative side effects that illegal steroid use can cause in men


  1. List two negative side effects that illegal steroid use can cause in women:


  1. List two negative side effects that illegal steroid use can cause in both men and women:


  1. List four withdrawal symptoms from illegal steroids:


  1. Does treatment exist for steroid abuse?  If so, what is it?