<H1 =line>Cold Medicine May Have</H1>
<H1 =line>Played Role In Teen's Death </H1>
<H2 =Sub>Boy Took Coricidin HBP Before Crossing Highway</H2>
<DIV =posted>POSTED: 5:24 a.m. MDT April 29, 2003</DIV>
<DIV =updated>UPDATED: 10:20 a.m. MDT April 29, 2003
<DIV =Story><B =Dateline>HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- [/B]A 14-year-old boy killed when he tried to run across C-470 earlier this month had taken an over-the-counter cold medicine that can have the side effects of impairing a person's judgment, coordination and depth perception, investigators say.
Cory Coleman, a freshman at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, was hit by two cars as he crossed the highway near Broadway Street on April 5 at about 8:30 p.m.
State Patrol investigators on Monday said Coleman apparently took Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold before his death. Law enforcement and school officials say the medication is known to teenagers as "Triple C" and has gained popularity for its highs that can include hallucinations.
"I know it's out there, and it scares me to death," ThunderRidge principal Mike Lynch said. "I don't think it's an epidemic, but it's definitely a hot topic. Every principal, every school has to deal with this."
Coleman had met some friends at a Highlands Ranch movie theater that Saturday night but left without seeing a film and was trying to cross the divided highway to reach a supermarket, officials said.
Toxicology tests showed the presence of dextromethorphan and chlorpheniramine in Coleman, but the tests cannot conclusively determined that Coleman was under the influence of these chemicals, the Colorado State Patrol said.
Dr. Al Bronstein, medical director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, said the center has fielded 46 calls on Coricidin so far this year, while there were 78 during all of 2002.
ThunderRidge officials have given information about the drug to parents and are having continuing discussions with students, Lynch said.
"We're not going to tolerate anything like that at school, but we're going to try to help you," the principal said. "There are some kids that are hurting out there, and we need to get them help."
In a statement, New Jersey-based Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, which makes Coricidin, said the company recognizes that teenager abuse of dextromethorphan "is a long-standing issue," and it is trying to teach consumers about the dangers of taking more than the recommended dose.
If taken as a recreational drug, the effects of dextromethorphan and chlorpheniramine may last four to six hours. Symptoms of misuse may include diminished depth-perception and cognitive reasoning, increased pulse rate, slightly dilated pupils, dry mouth and decreased coordination, called "sea legs."
Very high doses could result in hallucinations, gastrointestinal problems, bleeding, and even death. </DIV>