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View Full Version : Police warn of cough syrup abuse

04-10-2004, 07:49 PM
Experts say the medicines can become addictive

DeKALB - A growing drug trend has its origins in the medicine aisles at local stores.

A rising number of teenagers have been abusing over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, according to health professionals.

Genoa teenagers recently told KarrieAnna McClung, a prevention specialist with the Ben Gordon Center, that Robitussin has become popular in their community.

They take high quantities of the cough medicine or turn it into a pill they sell as Ecstasy at parties.

"It's a way to make a lot of money with little cost," she said.

Abusing cough and cold medicine also is increasing in DeKalb, said DeKalb Police Lt. Jim Kayes. Although abuse of the medicines has been happening for years, greater numbers of young people now are going for this easy high.

People, mostly teenagers, take high doses of either the liquid or pill form of cough and cold medicines for the dextromethorpan in them, which can give people hallucinations and a sense of disassociation.

High quantities make users feel tingly, groggy and relaxed, said Nancy Caudillo, marketing director at Sinnissippi Centers in Dixon, where mental health and substance abuse patients receive counseling.

Side effects include slowed motor responses, vomiting, numbness, increased heart rate, loss of consciousness, elevated blood pressure and brain damage, Caudillo said.

"It's very, very serious," she said, adding that she has heard of children as young as 12 using the substance.

Also, dextromethorpan is addictive, McClung said.

"Kids say they feel depressed and anxious until they use it again," she said.

Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold Medicine seems to be a favorite among local users, Kayes said, because the medicine is strong and doesn't cause as much nausea as the other medicines.

The DeKalb Police Department has charged two teenagers within the last week with retail theft after they tried to steal Coricidin from Wal-Mart, 2300 Sycamore Road, in separate instances.

"And if we have two kids shoplifting it, you know there are more kids out there using it," Kayes said.

The Sycamore Police have not handled any cases recently of people stealing or abusing cough and cold medicine, although the department has seen several cases in the past, said Lt. Cary Singer.

Kayes said teens abuse the drug because it is inexpensive and easy to get, although many stores are placing the medicine behind counters where people have to ask for it.

"But, if you want to get high, I guess you're going to find a way to do it," he said.

Story Here: http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/20...news/news02.txt (http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2004/04/10/news/news02.txt)

04-11-2004, 01:35 AM