A cough medicine ingredient popular with teens as an easy high isn't effective in suppressing coughs and creates a syrup as useful as flavored water, a Lee County woman claims in a lawsuit. Cape Coral resident Tina Yescavage filed the civil suit earlier this month against a bevy of cough medicine manufacturers, saying an active ingredient, dextromethorphan, has no medicinal effect on patients and the over-the-counter product is as effective as a glass of flavored water. "It's nothing more than a placebo and to suggest anything otherwise is simply deceitful," said attorney David Hughes, who is representing Yescavage in the suit. "These substances are about as helpful as flavored water." A message was left for Yescavage, but she was unavailable for comment. Hughes said she would not comment on the case. In her suit, Yescavage states dextromethorphan "does not work in children" and can "cause side effects including severe allergic reactions." Hughes said the suit could become a class-action complaint, and the crux is financial: Customers are buying a product that doesn't work. "As a result of defendants' unlawful conduct, and the perpetration of a massive fraud on the consumers of Florida and the several states, plaintiffs ... paid for an ineffective product marketed as medicine... ." Messages were left for representatives of Wyeth, Pfizer, McNeil-PPC Inc., Novartis Corp., Prestige Brands Inc., and Procter & Gamble Co., but they were unavailable for comment. Jody Cook, a spokeswoman for Rite Aid Corp., said the drug store chain does not operate any stores in Florida and couldn't comment on the suit. Yescavage, and any others added to the lawsuit, seek a maximum of $74,999 in damages, the suit said. Local police, however, say dextromethorphan — also known as DXM or dex — does work and even may be abused by people looking to get high. Two Cape Coral teens died Sunday, police said, when they overdosed on "Triple C," the over-the-counter Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, one of the cough medicines named in the suit. A third Cape Coral teen, Alex Kulwicki, 19, remained in good condition Monday night at Cape Coral Hospital, the nursing supervisor said. Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Larry Long said dextromethorphan-containing cough medicines usually are quite effective, but can become dangerous and deadly if abused. "It causes a high that kids and people compare to LSD," Long said. While highly effective if used properly, Long said people who down several bottles or take several packages of pills may get a high, but risk being injured or death. Many teens are opting for Coricidin, he said, because it contains a greater amount of DXM than other cough medicines. Parents should be suspicious if they find their child with many bottles or packages of pills, because they could be abusing the medicine, he said. Also called Robo, Red Devils, and Poor Man's PCP, dex is a component in Ecstasy, according to a January 2003 report by FDLE's Office of Statewide Intelligence. "The kids are looking for the easiest way to get a high," Long said. "The key here is the abuse of it. It's not the medicine itself. Maybe (these deaths) will be another shot in the arm to tell people it's dangerous to overmedicate."