Just Because It Is Legal Doesn't Mean It Is Safe
POSTED HERE February 13, 2007
(February 13, 2007) GLOUCESTER CITY NJ--The Gloucester City Municipal Alliance Against Drugs and Alcohol issued the following statement about the potential abuse of certain over-the-counter drugs:
According to a recent SAMHSA article, one in 11 teens have abused OTC (over the counter) medication, such as cough medicine. The ingredient, DXM, is found in many cough medications such as Contac, Coricidin, Robitussin and Sudafed.
While this ingredient is generally safe when used at recommended doses, high doses of this ingredient can produce hallucinations and out-of-body experiences.
Kids have been known to take DXM up to 30 times the recommended dose just to get mild-altering effects. At lower doses DXM can produce the feeling of being “stoned.”
At higher doses, DXM causes kids to see and hear things that are not there. This “tripping” can begin within 30 minutes of taking the drug and can last for hours.
This drug is appealing to young teens because of its low cost and easy availability. As you can imagine, taking incredibly high doses of Robitussin or Coricidin tabs can be very dangerous.
Teens have been known to develop a tolerance to DXM. Most tablets containing DXM have 20-30 100 mg doses. (5-6 pills)
Long term users, who have developed a tolerance, may increase the dose up to 1,000 mg or more!
These medications have other ingredients in them, which can cause severe damage to the liver and kidney or even death if taken in high doses.
A common complaint of teens that abuse DXM is that they have severe stomach pain from throwing up so much, for days afterward, many teens talk about the scary feeling of having to go to the bathroom during the “tripping episode” but they literally cannot urinate.
Other side effects include hallucinations, psychosis, extreme agitation, and violent behavior.
Young people are under the false assumption that because something is legal and sold in stores, it can’t be harmful to them. Some don’t understand that if you take anything in excess, it can be harmful and even deadly.
Talking with kids about proper dosages and reasons to take OTC meds is the best way to prevent abuse. Parents should also keep track of the OTCs in their home.
Know how many pills are in each bottle or package. Avoid overstocking of OTC drugs in the home. Don’t allow kids to keep OTC medications in their rooms, backpacks, or lockers.
Monitor your child’s web usage. Many DXM medications are sold via the Internet. And finally, be a good role model yourself.
Mrs. Kristen Kitchenman,
Student Assistance Coordinator,
Gloucester City High School