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Dextroverse Community > DXM-related News > OTC drug abuse a 'significant problem'

Posted by: drdªv€ Nov 4 2007, 02:35 PM
Published: November 04, 2007 12:00 am

Over-the-counter drug abuse a 'significant problem' Sanborn incident draws attention to dangers of cough medicine

KINGSTON - On the final day of Red Ribbon Week, devoted to educating teens about the dangers of substance abuse, students at Sanborn Regional High School saw firsthand the damage drugs can do.

Two students were hospitalized briefly on Oct. 26 after each swallowed eight to 12 pills meant to fight nasal congestion, according to police Chief Donald Briggs. The teens were released from the hospital later that day, but the overdose on cold medicine has local officials concerned that a national trend is making its way to New Hampshire.

"We have found over the last several years that it has become a very large issue," Briggs said. "When kids can't get their hands on other substances, they do seem to go after over-the-counter medications."

He said this is not the first misuse of cold medication the town has seen in the past few years; others have been hospitalized for attempting to get high on over-the-counter medication.

Melissa Heinen, education and research coordinator for the Northern New England Poison Center, said it is a "significant problem" across the state. At a recent workshop with paramedics in Southern New Hampshire, she said, emergency workers reported seeing a growing number of cases of cough medicine abuse.

Brittney Stevens, a senior at Sanborn, said she has heard about teenagers getting high on cold medication before.

"It wasn't the first time I've heard about something like that happening," she said. "It just sounds like a really immature thing to do. It doesn't appeal to me in any way."

But last month's incident was Sanborn Principal Gail Sudduth's first run-in with the growing problem of over-the-counter drug abuse.

"I would be na•ve to say I hadn't heard of it," she said, "but this was the first instance that I'm aware of that we had students showing pretty significant physical reaction to over-the-counter medication, in the sense that we determined they needed to be sent to the hospital."

'A lesson learned'

Cold medications like the Assured RX the Sanborn students took contain dextromethorphan and can produce an opiate-like high. DXM is the active ingredient in many cold medicines used to suppress coughs. When taken in higher doses than directed, it can cause hallucinations, disorientation and paranoia, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. At very high doses, it can cause inability to move arms and legs or talk, respiratory depression, and in rare cases, death.

After taking the pills, one of the Sanborn students went to the school nurse and complained of nausea, dizziness and a racing heart, Briggs said.

"What became very clear to me was that you can have a very significant reaction from abusing over-the-counter medication," Sudduth said. "It was a lesson learned for all of us."

Cases of DXM abuse increased tenfold from 1999 to 2004, according to a 2006 report that tracked data from the California Poison Control Center and national poison control centers. Of the California cases, which the report says parallel national statistics, nearly 75 percent of users were between the ages of 9 and 17.

Sudduth used the school's alert system to send an automated message to parents describing the details of the overdose. She said the incident has brought focus to the issue of over-the-counter drug abuse, sometimes called "robotripping," "triple c" or "doing skittles."

The incident occurred on the last day of Red Ribbon Week, a national drug prevention program. Sudduth said the school spent the week talking to students about the dangers of drug abuse. But those programs tend to focus on illegal drugs, she said. After this scare, that will change.

Keeping kids safe

Sue Centner, director of the Community Alliance for Teen Safety, said the issue is one that her group has been concerned about for some time. A nonprofit Derry group, CATS, was formed in 1996 and is devoted to substance abuse prevention.

"We know that it's happening and with young and younger kids," Centner said. "Research will show that many kids think that if it comes from a drug store, it may be safer, instead of using an illegal drug like marijuana or cocaine."

Tim Lena, student assistance program coordinator at Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, said a number of students have been taken from the school to the hospital via ambulance after overdosing on cold medicine.

"It is a real problem because kids don't realize how easy it is to overdose," he said. "There is the misconception that it is safe somehow because it's legal, but Drano is legal too and you wouldn't want to ingest that."

A recent survey taken by students at Timberlane Middle School measured, for the first time, the rate of over-the-counter drug abuse.

In 2007, 5.9 percent of middle school students reported using over-the-counter medication to get high. The number steadily increased as students made their way from sixth grade, 2.1 percent, to grade eight, 10.9 percent. Three percent of students reported using the drugs in the past 30 days, Lena said.

There are some simple steps parents can take to protect their children, the Poison Center's Heinen said. Don't stockpile medication, and inventory what is in the medicine cabinet at home. Another way parents can help is to not send their children to school with medication. Sudduth said all medication, even cold and cough remedies, should be distributed through the school nurse.

Posted by: infinite Nov 5 2007, 04:15 PM
"It is a real problem because kids don't realize how easy it is to overdose," he said. "There is the misconception that it is safe somehow because it's legal, but Drano is legal too and you wouldn't want to ingest that."

wow...did they just compare dxm to fuckin drain cleaner?!?!?!

sidenote: drain cleaner....brain cleaner? hmm

Posted by: Choker Nov 6 2007, 04:02 PM
This article pisses me off. LEGALIZE THE FUCKING DRUGS ALREADY AND WE'LL ALL BE HAPPY. Then we won't be 'abusing' otc meds so much. And while you're at it, make 60mg dxm pills.

And dxm isn't fucking like opiates. I wanna stab these people.

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