Abuse of cold remedies by teens is nation

By Alfa · Dec 9, 2004 · ·
  1. Alfa
    Abuse of cold remedies by teens is national trend



    ALOHA -- Children across the country are turning to over-the-counter cold
    medicines for the same sort of high provided by illegal drugs such as LSD.

    The drugs they are using are readily available, cheap and legal. In many
    cases, they learn about them from Web sites that compare the drugs with
    their illegal counterparts.

    In that light, health officials are hardly surprised by an overdose Sunday
    night that hospitalized five Washington County children who took large
    doses of Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold Medicine.

    Children's substance abuse, including that of cold remedies, has a history
    as long as underage drinking. But until recently, the most commonly abused
    substances were prescription drugs including codeine.

    Coricidin contains dextromethorphan. According to the National Institute
    on Drug Abuse, it is contained in more than 100 over-the-counter cold
    remedies, from cough syrup to throat lozenges. Medicines with "DM" or
    "Tuss" in their names contain the drug.

    Dextromethorphan goes by a variety of slang names, including CCC, DXM,
    DMX, Dex, Red Devils, Skittles, Robo, Tussin and the Poor Man's PCP.

    "It's pretty common. It's probably one of the more common drugs of abuse
    of the young teenager," said Craig Warden, chief of pediatric emergency
    services and a medical toxicologist at the Oregon Poison Center.

    Questions about overdoses Last year, the center received 294 calls about
    potential cold medicine overdoses. The center does not break down how many
    calls involved Coricidin or how many were intentional or accidental.

    In 2000, two Clark County, Wash., teenagers died in incidents linked to

    In one case, a 13-year-old boy was found dead in his closet after an
    overdose of the drug. In another, a 15-year-old boy hanged himself after
    taking about 30 pills. Both deaths were ruled suicides.

    Warden said an overdose of the medicine can cause elevated body
    temperature and heart rates. Medical literature shows it also can cause a
    rise in blood pressure and an imbalance in body chemistry causing damage
    to the liver. Other effects include impaired judgment, loss of
    coordination, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes, slurred speech, tremors,
    seizures and death.

    Coricidin comes in packages, with 16 tablets selling for about $5. Warden
    said the normal dosage for cold sufferers is one or two tablets every four

    Abusers frequently take as much as a full box at once. The five Aloha
    youths took 80 tablets among them.

    Stores restrict access As abuse of over-the-counter medications has become
    more prevalent, drugstores have started keeping them out of reach.
    Customers don't need a prescription, but have to ask a pharmacist or clerk
    to provide them.

    "We used to have a problem and started keeping these medicines behind the
    counter about two years ago," said Tom Herbage, pharmacist at Beaverton

    Rite Aid pharmacies don't lock up cold medications because it would be
    impractical given the number of brands, said Jody Cook, a spokeswoman for
    the Harrisburg, Pa., company.

    The national chain works with local communities if there are specific
    concerns about over-the-counter medications, she said. For example, it
    limits the number of packages of products with ephedrine that it will sell
    to one customer because the drug is used to make methamphetamine.

    Effort to educate adults Executives at Schering-Plough HealthCare
    Products, the maker of Coricidin, acknowledge abuse of the drug is a
    problem, company spokesman Jim Lawenda said. To combat the problem, the
    company has worked with organizations including the Council of Family
    Health to advertise the dangers of incorrectly using products that contain

    "We do believe that it is very important that parents and educators play a
    role in addressing drug abuse with kids at these ages," Lawenda said.

    Warden said parents of children who are abusing the drug might notice a
    change in the child's behavior and poor school performance.

    "It's like any drug," he said. "They won't be acting right and they will
    appear flushed."

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  1. antizero
    You know what I hate about these stories...? It's always
    Coricidin that gives dextromethorphan a bad name. If these kids
    would do a little research before they put shit into their body, these
    deaths wouldn't happen... but oh well I guess.
  2. lolomgwtfbbq
    Yeah, CCC has other active ingredients. I think all OTC
    deaths/problems are because of either ODing or because the people don't
    look at the other active ingredients and end up ODing on the other
    ones. That's why I think it's important to look up a bunch of stuff
    about any drug you want to try before you do it.</font>
  3. Dualpower

    Health officials are hardly suprised? According to this article, DXM
    gives an LSD like high. How many LSD overdoses have there been? One or
    two maybe, unless they are just urban myths.

    The whole CCC type-thing is only going to get worse if these kinds of
    articles keep coming. I wonder how many kids would die if they started
    including acetaminophen in these preparations as a deterrant.
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