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02-13-2004, 05:37 PM
The Chicago Tribune:

Some stores try to thwart teens

Emergency room physicians are reporting a sharp increase in teens abusing non-prescription cough and cold medicines, which are back in vogue as recreational drugs because the products are accessible and easier to take than ever before.

Users call it "skittles," "triple Cs" (for Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold tablets) "robo-tripping" to describe its hallucinogenic effects. Medical personnel are calling it "an epidemic."

The latest concerns have caused some drugstore chains to limit purchases. But the efforts don't go far enough, say many critics, who are urging that all such products be sold strictly from behind the counter.

"It's not illegal to purchase. It's not even illegal to take in large
quantities. It's just dangerous and foolish and that is what is scaring everybody," said Dr. Charles Nozicka, director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates.

Nozicka estimates he has seen about 30 cold medicine-related overdoses in the last year.

While students have been guzzling cough syrup for years, this is a relatively new phenomenon. Sweet syrups would contain ingredients that cause vomiting before reaching doses large enough to hallucinate. Tablets don't have that effect.

The key ingredient is DXM, a cough suppressant that replaced opiates in the 1970s and can be found in more than 120 products, all safe when used as directed. But taking DXM in large quantities can cause slurred speech, tremors, seizures and even death. Because the product is at every pharmacy, the dangers are easy to dismiss, said experts.

While no national agency tracks fatalities, at least five have been attributed to cold medicines during the last year, including one in September at Illinois State University. More indicative of a growing problem: U.S. poison-control centers logged some 3,200 calls related to the substance in 2003--twice the number as in 2001. Locally, the Illinois Poison Center got 160 calls last year--an increase of 26 percent since 2001.

"It wasn't something we really noticed before 2001," said Dr. Michael Wahl, medical director of the Illinois Poison Center.

To raise awareness, the Chicago office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a parental advisory last week, citing a "recent escalation" in area DXM abuse. In addition, the American Medical Association voted in December to pursue national restrictions on the products.

Dr. Tim Erickson, director of clinical toxicology at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, realized that this was quickly becoming the drug of choice when he searched for Coricidin and found stores were cleaned out.

"The word is out," Erickson said. "It has totally permeated the adolescent population--especially in the suburbs."

Mike, 17, first heard about DXM from friends at his northwest suburban high school.

"The main reason I did it every day is because it was just so available," said the senior, who asked that his last name not be used. "I didn't need a connection. ... I could steal it. I could get it for free."

The addiction remains stubbornly under the radar. Most cases don't end up in an emergency room. Even if they do, personnel don't regularly test for legal substances. And while marijuana and Ecstasy are still more popular, those substances usually arouse parental suspicion. No such alarms go off for cold products--especially in the winter.

"Kids can abuse a long time before adults suspect a problem, said Dr. Louis Kraus, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, who brought the issue to the AMA. "Even physicians are basically in the dark about this ... but it's at every high school on the North Shore," said Kraus, who has a private practice in Deerfield.

While Mike was no stranger to pharmaceuticals, Coricidin quickly zoomed to the top of the list. At the lower doses, he would experience a pleasant euphoria "like a good body buzz." Most of the time, though, he would opt for about 20 of the red pills--or a few more than a box--which delivered something far more "intense." (Recommended dose: one every six hours).

Despite using the drug every day for about five months, Mike said he never OD'd. "But I was shaking a lot ... and I was at the point where I was stealing it all the time. ... My parents knew about a lot of stuff, but they were pretty clueless about this."

Eventually, his grades dropped and his parents "put two and two together" and brought him to Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Center, as well as Hazelden Clinic near St. Paul, for substance abuse treatment.

After three relapses, he said that he has been clean for two months and back at school, where he's just trying to get through his senior year.

Coricidin's manufacturer, Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, has stepped up efforts in recent months, including working with national retailers and anti-drug organizations, according to Mary Fran Faraji, spokeswoman for the New Jersey-based drugmaker.

Last month, Walgreens nationwide began limiting the sale of Coricidin HBP to three packages, with other chains--such as Osco and Dominick's--following suit. They leave it to the discretion of store managers whether to clamp down further.

But until all stores keep it out of reach, most health-care professionals won't be satisfied.

"It's a joke," Kraus said. "Kids who are shoplifting don't care about how much they can buy. Until it's behind the counter, we're going to continue to have an increasing problem."

- - -

DXM abuse increasing

State health-care professionals have seen a rise in the number of drug abuse cases involving DXM, an ingredient in cough syrup.


Related to DXM

2001: 127

2002: 140

2003: 160


Use: Cough suppressant commonly found in over-the counter cough medicines.

How it is abused: At higherthan- recommended doses it can produce hallucinogenic effects and distorted perceptions of sight and sound.

Signs of abuse: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, poor coordination, rapid heart rate, dizziness. At very high doses, DXM can cause the inability to move arms or legs or talk, slowed breathing and even death.

Slang terms: Dex, Robo, Skittles, Syrup, Triple-C, Tussin

Source: Illinois Poison Center, Drug Enforcement Administration

SOURCE: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/c...ll=chi-news-hed (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0402130319feb13,1,4481441.story?coll=chi-news-hed) (subscription)

02-13-2004, 06:55 PM
Thay sux but they always talk about c's and never think hey this shit has more active ingredents than DXM . If stuff like this gets out people like me (15) wont be able to get it as easy. Also they should know everyday use fryes your brain especially for 5 months strait! I 'v had a week binge but DAMN! :nono:

Drake Dracoli
02-14-2004, 10:19 PM
Damn you, I was going to post the same article. Nonetheless, yeah. I live in the Chicago Area.

02-15-2004, 05:10 PM
I am really getting so pissed about all this media converage, its totaly going to ruin it. and to top the thing the media has no research abilitys. Every report they post has totaly false facts in it. they cant drink the ser-up because they would throw up, MORON. i swear 1 hour of reading and they could know everthing in the world about the stuff but no, they go off here say and get info like they call it "pharming" wtf pharming, get real. i was amazed that i finnaly saw some use the word dexing, instead of skittling, cause i have only heard people call them skittles not say lets go skittling.

elven darkness
02-16-2004, 01:49 PM
yeah 4real. i call it dxming or robo-tripping because that's exactly what it is tripping on robitussin...

i've never had anyone ask me to smoke some wacky tabaky with them either, it's all making the dxm world look more immature like we think of dxm as some kind of a little kiddy game...


02-17-2004, 10:51 PM
Well good thing I WORK AT the Robitussin factory!
By the way, I am not lieing.

02-20-2004, 03:54 AM
Originally posted by Void@Feb 13 2004, 05:37 PM
Last month, Walgreens nationwide began limiting the sale of Coricidin HBP to three packages, with other chains--such as Osco and Dominick's--following suit. They leave it to the discretion of store managers whether to clamp down further.
Whoa, i bet limiting sale to 3 boxes of 16 really helps cut down on abuse!

02-24-2004, 03:33 PM
agreed, xcrustx. if the stupid fecktards wanna learn about DXM all they have to do is find this site :shake: but noooooo, they hafta act like we're the same kids who sniff glue or something. :flame:
Limiting the sale is BS, i never buy more than one package at a time anyway. NBC news at 11 did a story on this last week in my area, and they got it all wrong too. I'd bet 90% of people who get hospitalized got hurt by other actives, not the DXM. All they have to do is read the damn bottle and jsut maybe realize not to dex every day for a year and they'll be fine. :nono: God i hate irresponsible drug users who make things harder for the rest of us!