Cough and Cold Medicine Abuse

Teens guzzle cough and cold medicines for a quick – and legal – high. Unfortunately, more and more teens are getting hooked.

Why kids abuse cough and cold meds

In the 70s, young people were downing cough syrup for a speedy fix. This was before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) switched codeine, a narcotic, with dextromethorphan as an over the counter (OTC) cough suppressant.

In time, kids found out that they could still get high by taking large doses of any OTC medicine with dextromethorphan (DXM).

Products that contain DXM such as tablets, capsules, gel caps, lozenges, and syrups are labeled DM, cough suppressant, or Tuss.

DXM-containing medicines are readily available for penniless kids. And since these drugs are over-the-counter medicines, teens assume the DXM can’t be dangerous.

DXM abuse today

Cough and cold medicine abuse is mounting. According to recent studies, quick access to OTC meds in stores and on the web could be a contributing factor.

Now and Then

The difference between past and current DXM abuse is that teens can now use the Internet not only to purchase DXM in pure powder form, but also learn how to abuse it. Since downing large doses of DXM can cause vomiting, the DXM is being extracted from cough syrups and being sold on the Net in tablet (swallowed) or powder (snorted) form. There are even online dosing calculators that teach kids how much drug they’ll need for their weight to get high.

Teens also get their DXM high by taking Triple C or Coricidin HBP Cough and Col. Triple C contains 30 mg of DXM. DXM abusers who take large doses of Triple C run even more health risks because it contains antihistamine.

Ingredients contained in other Coricidin products and OTC cough and cold medicines – decongestants, expectorants, and pain relievers – multiply the risks linked to DXM, and could lead to drug overdose.

Other street names for DXM include: Candy, C-C-C, Dex, DM, Drex, Red Devils, Robo, Rojo, Skittles, Tussin, Velvet, and Vitamin D.



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