The Dextroverse

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Default 05-16-2007, 01:42 PM

May 16, 2007, 6:16 AM EDT

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ A new law designed to curb a growing form of teen drug abuse would bar minors from buying certain over-the-counter cold and cough medicines, in what backers said could be the first measure of its kind in the country.

Suffolk County lawmakers voted unanimously Tuesday to ban anyone under 19 from purchasing nonprescription cold remedies containing dextromethorphan to anyone under 19. Intentionally selling the drugs to minors would be a violation and would carry fines starting at $250, and ranging up to $750 for the third and subsequent offenses.

Tuesday's vote sends the measure to County Executive Steve Levy for his consideration.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has estimated that 1 in 10 youths has used cough medicines made with dextromethorphan, also called DXM, to get high. The practice is sometimes called "robotripping" or "skittling."

Ingesting huge amounts of the cough suppressant can produce a hallucinogenic high _ along with side effects that include vomiting and rapid heart beat.

"We're not going to stop every young person from getting high on cough syrup," said Suffolk County Legislator Lynne Nowick. "But like age restrictions on alcohol, it will have a deterrent effect."

Several states, including California and Oklahoma, have considered similar bans, meeting opposition from pharmaceutical companies and retailers.
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