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03-25-2004, 05:02 PM
The next time your children talk about Skittles, make sure they are talking about candy, says Douglas County Coroner Joe Victor.

Skittles, usually known as a colorful coated candy, is also one of the street names for a lethal, but legal drug known as dextromethorphan.

Dextromethorphan, also known as DXM, is an ingredient found in over-the-counter cold and cough remedies, including NyQuil and DayQuil, Theraflu and Robitussin. If cold and cough remedies containing DXM are taken in proper dosages, they are safe and DXM as an ingredient in these remedies has proven to work as a cough suppressant.

But individuals seeking a high will risk the dangers to themselves by consuming large quantities of cough syrup or ingesting DXM in its pure powder form, purchased either from drug dealers or over the Internet through auction sites.

It is completely legal to purchase or possess DXM, said Master Sgt. Steve Guess, East Central Illinois Drug Task Force.

When individuals abuse DXM by consuming higher doses than the recommended 15-30 milligrams, typically more than 306 milligrams, they risk injuring themselves and others because of the drug's effects on visual perception and cognitive process, according to a report from the National Drug Intelligence Center, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. Risks associated with DXM include nausea, abdominal pain, high-blood pressure, seizures, brain damage and death, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.

DXM in its pure form is reported to produce hallucinations, Victor said. "It is being compared to LSD of the 1960s," said Victor. "It has that effect, but it is more dangerous. It is flat out scary."

The DXM problem is new to East Central Illinois, Guess said. The first time the East Central Illinois Drug Task Force learned of DXM was during the investigation into the recent death of Hindsboro teen-ager Eric Richardson, Guess said.

At Richardson's inquest Tuesday, the results of an autopsy reported that Richardson died Feb. 5 from an overdose of DXM. The coroner's jury's verdict ruled Richardson committed suicide.

Austin Eriksen, 18, of Oakland also ingested a large quantity of DXM, along with Richardson, on Feb. 5. Eriksen was found unconscious near Richardson. According to the Illinois State Police and Douglas County sheriff, Eriksen, who survived, allegedly purchased the DXM over the Internet and allegedly told people he was surprised he was alive because he and Richardson both ingested 15 tablets each.

Police reported during the inquest Eriksen had left a suicide note to his girlfriend the night before he and Richardson ingested the tablets.

Victor believes Eriksen might have survived because after he ingested the tablets "his body said tilt "and kicked them out" by vomiting.

The investigation into Richardson's death prompted East Central Illinois Drug Task Force Agent Mark Peyton to contact eBay, a popular Internet auction site and warn them of the dangers of DXM. eBay agreed with Peyton and removed the auctions from the site. eBay is now prohibiting the sale of DXM, Guess said.

However, new street names for DXM are continually being created to try and elude law enforcement. Some of the current names include Dex, DM, Drex, Robo, Rojo, Skittles, Triple C and Velvet.

Although they haven't seen many cases of individuals seeking treatment for DXM , Deb Briseno, program director, Central East Alcoholism and Drug Council, CEAD, said the prevention and treatment staff have been doing research about DXM to be prepared if necessary.

"We are obviously concerned and we are looking into it," Briseno said.

Because the drug can be purchased in over-the-counter cold medicines, it makes it very obtainable, Briseno said. It is also dangerous because it has an hallucinogenic effect which alters the person's state of consciousness, she said.

Briseno encouraged individuals or those concerned about an individual with a drug or alcohol problem to contact CEAD and get treatment. She said they have in-patient and ou-patient programs. The contact number is 348-8108.

Guess said the East Central Illinois Drug Task Force does presentations for police agencies, students, parents and civic groups about drug awareness and dangers of drug abuse. They have recently added information about DXM, Guess said. For more information, contact (800) 628-2958.

Story Here: http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2004/03/25/n...news/news02.txt (http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2004/03/25/news/news02.txt)

03-25-2004, 10:26 PM
Note to moderators: this thread should be retitled to mention that this is about an actual DXM death. The current title doesn't indicate that.

Additional news report below. But first some comments I made when I posted this to Usenet:

This is an apparent DXM death I haven't reported on before. This is an
odd case. From the news reports below, Eric Richardson along with Austin
Eriksen took a large, but not clearly specified, dose of DXM. Richardson
died, while Eriksen managed to survive. Eriksen is said to have left a
suicide note to his girlfriend. Thus, it appears from this rather than being
a DXM abuse case death, it instead was a double suicide attempt where a
large quantity of DXM was consumed as the suicide method. Only one of these
2 guys succeeded, possibly because one vomited up the remaining DXM in his

This whole case seems bizarre. I'm adding on my list of things to do
finding contact information for this coroner, and do so as a reporter and
try and obtain the coroner's report, and other relevant information. It
strikes me as damn odd 2 people would choose a large amount of DXM as a
suicide method unless they were also recreational users. Why go out of the
way to obtain DXM via an Internet seller, when there are so many more easily
available, and more effective, ways to off yourself? My guess is they
obtained it to trip, and the idea of suicide came afterwards, and they used
the DXM because it was handy.

Looks like I may have to add another section to my website pointing out
that taking a large amount of DXM is an all kinds of bad suicide method.
Just too great a chance ending up brain damaged and locked away in some
mental hospital for the next 60 years or so, and praying for death, but
unable to kill yourself. While a shotgun in the mouth pointed at the brain,
or laying your neck on the railroad tracks, are far more messy ways of doing
yourself in, these are far more effective methods. For a less messy suicide
method, cyanide is quite effective. However, may not be so easy for a
teenager to obtain. (Trivial if you are an adult though, and know where an
how to get it.)

http://www.weiu.net/news/archive/newsbuild.../commondrug.htm (http://www.weiu.net/news/archive/newsbuilder/2004/march/0311/commondrug.htm)

Common Drug Causing Problems
Posted: March 11, 2004

A common cold medicine could be potentially deadly as some local teenagers
may be using it to get high.
S drug some are calling DXM may be the latest chemical of choice for some
rural teens. Triple C, Velvet, and Dex are the street names for a common
ingredient found in many non-prescription cold and flu medications. Douglas
County Coroner Joe Victor says this drug has been responsible for four
deaths in Illinois in recent years. Victor says he thinks an overdose of
dextromethorphan, or DXM caused the death of 17-year-old Eric Richardson in
February. Since the drug is a cough suppressant it can easily be purchased
in over the counter drugs. Local pharmacist Karen Clausing says she hasn't
noticed an increase in teens purchasing these products. Victor says
cautious parents need be on the lookout for flu like symptoms, mood swings,
and behavioral changes.
Clausing says if the problem gets worse the Medicine Shoppe will take some
precautions. Victor says the amount of DXM needed to cause death has not
been determined since this is still a new problem. An inquest on
Richardson's case will take place March 23rd at the Douglas County