Abuse of OTC medications and other commercial products is an important yet underrecognized form of substance abuse, causing significant morbidity and mortality in adolescents and young adults. Physicians must be aware that OTC substance abuse occurs in all patient populations, including theirs, and stay apprised of local and regional trends and resources, such as the nearest poison control center. OTC substance abuse awareness that facilitates routine office screening, diagnosis, and use of psychosocial support to curtail abuse and long-term consequences is as crucial as acute medical management. Much research is needed to elucidate all aspects of OTC substance abuse and to identify effective prevention and intervention strategies.
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