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Væ§ølis Offline
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Default 12-29-2003, 10:47 AM

This morning there was a short feature on cough syrup abuse on Good Morning America. The statement was made that kids often hallucinate and sometimes die from drinking Robitussin! The following is from an article posted on the ABCNews website.

Kids Overdosing on Cold Medicine to Get High

Dec. 16 — Parents concerned about whether their children are abusing drugs might also want to keep their medicine cabinets under lock and key.

Ian, 17, and Tom, 16, say the over-the-counter cold medicine they used to get high made them feel out of control at times. (

Across the country, children and teens are intentionally overdosing on cold medicine or "robotripping" in order to get a hallucinogenic high.

Robotripping,is the slang term for intentionally overdosing on over-the-counter cold medication such as the cough medicine Robitussin. Although cough syrup abuse is nothing new — it dates to more than 30 years ago — it seems to be undergoing a revival lately, with cases of teens overdosing on the medicine popping up across the country.

Robitussin, NyQuil, Benadryl and Coricidin are among the favorites. Tom, a 16-year-old boy whose last name is being withheld, told Good Morning America that some school friends told him about robotripping and he got high off a bottle of Robitussin. He then began experimenting with other over-the-counter medicines, taking eight to 16 Coricidin tablets at a time, he said.

"I started out with Robitussin, I drank an eight-ounce bottle," Tom said. "The Robitussin was more like a high off of marijuana, and with Coricidin you can't sit still, you keep talking," he said.

Ian, 17, said he used Coricidin, Nyquil and Benadryl to get high.

"It kind of got all concentrated into your head, and you really got kind of hyper and are all over the place and acting real stupid," Ian said.

DXM Is Trouble Ingredient

The culprit ingredient is dextromethorphan, a common additive in cough suppressants that can cause hallucinations when used in large amounts, according to Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction expert.

"There's Web sites out there that tell these kids how to do this, how to get the pills, how to take enough pills," Pinsky said.

Users can suffer psychosis, brain damage, and seizures. Overdoses can be fatal. Fourteen people died last year from intentional overdoses of cold medicines, and several hundred were hospitalized, Pinsky said.

"These are legal drugs, so only the worst cases of overdose make it into the records," Pinsky said.

More than 80 over-the-counter cold medicines contain DXM, or dextromethorphan, a chemical that serves as a powerful cough suppressant when taken properly, but produces psychedelic effects when taken in large doses. DXM abuse is hard to track because it is legal and most abusers are under 18.

Ian and Tom say they're off Coricidin and Robitussin now, after getting help.

"I never got caught with it, but I got caught in school for being drunk and high, and they sent me to a drug counseling program and that covered everything," Ian said. "I've been clean off of that stuff for about two months now," he said.

Tom, who says he used Coricidin and Robitussin from late last year until October of this year, said he had managed to keep up a normal appearance in front of his teachers and parents, even when he was hallucinating, but away from home or school, he sometimes became uncontrollable. He would sleepwalk, talk in his sleep and have blackouts.

Tom says he's clean today and in an outpatient rehabilitation program while attending narcotic anonymous meetings.

Pee Wee Drug Dealers

There is also concern about the age at which children are abusing drugs, which seems to be getting younger.

In Port St. Lucie, Fla. last week, two 9-year-old children were found with 15 small bags of marijuana, reportedly while riding the school bus to their elementary school. One boy was passing the baggies to the other. The two boys are both in the third grade.

Police are investigating whether the boys intended to sell the drugs.

see original article here

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AbsurdityOfLife Offline
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Default 12-29-2003, 10:58 AM

There's also a cover story in USA Today,
as well as it being the lead story on USA Today's 'Video Headlines'

Youths risk death in latest drug abuse trend
By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Emergency rooms and schools across the nation are reporting that waves of youths are overdosing on non-prescription cough and cold medicines that are widely available in drugstores and supermarkets.

Dextromethorphan is a common cough suppressant in over-the-counter medicines.
By H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

The dozens of overdoses in the past two years — including at least five deaths in which the abuse of over-the-counter medicines was a factor — reflect how medicines such as Robitussin and Coricidin are becoming more popular as recreational drugs for kids as young as 12, police and doctors say.

The incidents represent a dangerous turn from past decades, when some youths would guzzle cough syrup to try to get a buzz from alcohol and codeine, authorities say. Most cough and cold medicines no longer contain alcohol, and those with codeine, an addictive opiate, are available only by prescription. But more than 120 over-the-counter medicines include dextromethorphan, or DXM, a cough suppressant that when taken in heavy doses can produce hallucinations and a loss of motor control, much as PCP does.

About DXM

Dextromethorphan, also called DXM, is found in more than 120 non-prescription cough and cold medicines, including Robitussin, Coricidin HBP, Vicks NyQuil and Vicks Formula 44. Other facts:

Youths' nicknames for DXM: Robo, Skittles, Triple C's, Rojo, Dex, Tussin, Vitamin D. DXM abuse is called "Robotripping" or "Tussing." Users might be called "syrup heads" or "robotards."

Symptoms of abuse: They include sweating; high body temperature; dry mouth; dry, itchy or flaky skin; blurred vision; hallucinations; delusions; nausea; stomach pain; vomiting; irregular heartbeat; high blood pressure; numbness in toes and fingers; red face; headache; loss of consciousness.

How much is too much: A normal dose of DXM is 15 to 30 milligrams. Mind-altering effects can occur at doses as low as 100 milligrams, but many abusers consume enough pills or syrup (say, half a 12-ounce bottle) to result in a dose of 240-360 milligrams.

Its status: The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies DXM as a "drug of concern" because of its potential for misuse, but there are no legal restrictions on buying the drug.

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Drug Enforcement Administration

Kids don't have to drink entire bottles of goopy cough syrup to go "Robotripping" or "Dexing." Pills such as Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold tablets — known as "Triple C's" — offer far more potent doses of DXM with less hassle. Youths can buy the medicines easily, then go to Web sites to learn how much someone of their weight should take to get high.

Whether in cough syrup or pills, DXM costs just a few dollars, is "easy to get ... and there's a lot of information about how to get high on it on the Internet," says Charles Nozicka, medical director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., west of Chicago. He says that he began seeing DXM overdoses among teens three or four years ago, and that lately he has seen as many as four cases a week.

Authorities say DXM overdoses typically occur in clusters, as word of the drug spreads in a community's middle schools and high schools. This fall, parents and school officials in Naples, Fla., who had known little about DXM were shocked when several kids in their early teens suddenly passed out in class after overdosing on the drug.

At Pine Ridge Middle School in Naples in September, a 13-year-old girl brought about 80 Coricidin pills to campus one day and gave some to six friends, authorities there say. Each of the friends took at least five pills — the recommended dosage for adults is no more than one pill every six hours — and soon the school was in chaos. Two students lost consciousness in their first-period classes; they and one other overdosed youth were treated at a local hospital.

The girl who distributed the pills thought it would be "fun to feel messed up and act ... drunk," says Cpl. Joseph Scott of the sheriff's office in Collier County, which is in southwestern Florida on the Gulf Coast.

Another round of overdoses occurred on Nov. 6 at Immokalee High School, which also is in Collier County. A 15-year-old girl and two of her friends took five Coricidin pills each before school. By 10:45 a.m., the girl "couldn't remember her own name," Scott says. When paramedics could not stabilize her heartbeat, they called for a helicopter to take her to a hospital. Authorities learned later that she had obtained the pills from a boy who had taken them from his home. The girl's friends did not have to be hospitalized.

Scott says that many parents in Collier County were shaken by the idea that youths could buy large amounts of such a potentially dangerous drug at a local store, and then consume the drug, without breaking any laws. "It's something people aren't really informed about yet. The parents we've dealt with so far are pretty much in shock," Scott says. "It seems right now it's mostly the younger kids" who are taking DXM.

Scott says his office is compiling information packets about DXM that will be distributed to local pharmacies and schools.

Restricting access

Elsewhere, growing concerns about DXM have led some drugstores to restrict access to cough and cold medicines.

After two teenage girls and two 20-year-old men in Merrill, Wis., overdosed on medicines containing DXM this year, some drugstores in the city of about 10,000 people 160 miles north of Madison began to stow such remedies behind their counters. At the Aurora Pharmacy, customers now must request Coricidin tablets, and they aren't allowed to buy several boxes at once. Pharmacist Jim Becker says he wants the drug "where we can keep an eye on it."

Drug manufacturers say they sympathize with concerns about drug abuse, but they have resisted efforts to restrict consumers' access to Coricidin, Robitussin and other remedies containing DXM.

"The vast majority of people take them responsibly," says Fran Sullivan, spokesman for Wyeth Consumer Healthcare in Madison, N.J., which makes Robitussin products. "As a medicine, it works hands-down, so we want people to be able to use it if they need it."

Aware that teens might be tempted to abuse its newest DXM product, anti-cough gel-tabs, Wyeth made its packaging large enough so that it is difficult to stash in a backpack or pocket, Sullivan says. The company advertises on TV shows geared to adults, he says.

"We've noticed that the abuse comes and goes in waves," he says. "It gets really popular in a small area for a short period of time and then it dies out. Teens end up in the emergency room, it makes the local newspaper, and the area goes on alert."

Schering-Plough, which makes Coricidin, is working with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America to create an educational Web site on DXM, company spokeswoman Mary-Fran Faraji says. Company representatives also are meeting with pharmacists, parents, schools and retailers to discuss ways to prevent drug abuse.

But Faraji says Schering-Plough doesn't plan to eliminate DXM from its non-prescription cough and cold medicines. She notes that most of the potential alternatives to DXM as a cough suppressant are opiates that carry more potential for abuse. "Reformulating our product is not going to make the abuse issue go away," Faraji says. "Our product is safe and effective when used as directed."

DXM approved decades ago

DXM, a synthetic drug that chemically is similar to morphine, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a cough suppressant in 1954. Drug manufacturers began putting it in cough syrups in the 1970s as a replacement for codeine.

DXM is sold legally without a prescription because it does not make users high when taken in small doses. The recommended dose, about one-sixth to one-third of an ounce of an extra-strength cough syrup, contains 15 to 30 milligrams of DXM, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. At doses of 4 or more ounces of cough syrup, DXM produces effects similar to those of PCP or the anesthetic ketamine, the institute says. DXM can produce hallucinations, depressed breathing, elevated blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Overdoses can cause seizures, comas and death.

It can be particularly dangerous when taken with other drugs.

Lee Cantrell, interim director of the California Poison Control System's San Diego division, says that Robitussin and some other cough and cold remedies containing DXM have additional ingredients that can be fatal to abusers if taken in huge doses. For example, antihistamines, which often are combined with DXM in cough and cold remedies, can be toxic and cause respiratory distress, Cantrell says. He says cough medicine abuse emerged as a problem in California about three years ago.

During what officials called a "mini-outbreak" of DXM overdoses in New Jersey two months ago, a 15-year-old boy had to be treated for acetaminophen poisoning after he drank two bottles of Robitussin and took some Coricidin. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever/fever reducer that, over time, can cause liver damage if taken in large doses.

The federal government does not keep statistics on DXM abuse, but drug specialists say anecdotal evidence suggests that its use does not approach that of methamphetamine or the club drug Ecstasy. DXM abusers, drug specialists say, typically are young teens who are seeking a cheap alternative to drugs that are more expensive and more difficult to get.

Still, "what we see in the emergency department is probably the tip of the iceberg," Nozicka says of DXM abuse in his community near Chicago. "There's probably a lot more going on, but most (overdose cases) don't end up in the emergency room."

Some drug counselors and doctors say young adults have begun using DXM with alcohol, Ecstasy and other drugs.

DXM "looks innocuous enough, but if you take enough of it, it can cause serious problems," says Ed Bottei, medical director of the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center in Sioux City. A 22-year-old college student in Ames, Iowa, died of a DXM overdose in October 2002. "Even though it's an over-the-counter medicine, it can still hurt you," Bottei says.

Authorities who have been more focused on illegal drugs often have been surprised by sudden outbreaks of DXM overdoses.

After a series of overdoses in the Detroit area in August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued an alert that warned parents, schools and local communities about an "escalation" in DXM abuse.

The alert cited a "disturbing increase" of overdoses in the Grosse Point area, near Detroit.

DEA special agent David Jacobson, spokesman for the agency's Detroit office, says that federal drug enforcement analysts usually can forecast regional trends in drug use, based on geographic patterns. But "Robotripping" came out of nowhere, he says.

"Law enforcement hadn't heard about it, but all the kids had," Jacobson says. As he and others in the community asked around, they found that DXM abuse "was not only out there, but it was out there more than we thought."

Internet fuels trend

Like others who monitor DXM abuse, Jacobson says the Internet has fueled the trend.

"Now (DXM cases) pop up everywhere," he says. "If one kid is doing it anywhere, kids here will know about it."

At Michigan State University in East Lansing, the student health center is planning to include a question about DXM abuse on its next student health survey in the spring, says Dennis Martell, the university's interim coordinator for health education.

"We want to be proactive in identifying the problem before it becomes the rage," he says.

Meanwhile, as word of DXM spreads among teens and young adults, pharmacies are reporting more thefts of cough and cold medicines, as well as suspicious purchases.

Victor Vercammen, a pharmacist who works in a drugstore north of Chicago, says he recently watched two young men try to buy six packages of Coricidin. As the clerk rang up the purchase, Vercammen confronted the pair.

"I could tell as the conversation went on that they planned to misuse it, so I asked if they realized that it could cause a seizure, that it could be fatal," says Vercammen, a spokesman for the Illinois Pharmacists Association. "My hope was that educating them at least gets them to think about it. The popular conception is that because it's over-the-counter, it's safer."

The men left the packages on the counter and walked out.

WARNING: Intentional misuse may result in severe enlightenment
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C20H25N3O Offline
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Default 12-29-2003, 12:59 PM

there is going to be something on DXM today on CNN as well, sometime between 1-3:30 pm EST. on CNN LiveFrom, i suppose it is DXM media day or something. It also leads me to believe the US media is just one big corporate company, but hey maybe not.

There is also a story on CBS about DXM today

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Default 12-29-2003, 03:08 PM

ugh all this shit maks me sick

.. you're moving but not aware .. you're drowsy without a care ..
. except keeping your whites .. behind your lids .
... and your lids are your best canvas i can only imagine ...
. what youre painting .
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Default 12-29-2003, 03:43 PM

I'll bet those two boys are as dumb as they look.

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Default 12-29-2003, 04:50 PM

I just saw the CNN report. It was a very quick thing that said DXM mimcs the effects of PCP and teens use it to get high beacuse its "redily availible"
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Default 12-29-2003, 05:03 PM

DXM does in many respects mimic the effects of PCP, and DXM is widely used by teenagers because it's available at any corner store. Why do these facts upset you?

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Default 12-29-2003, 05:15 PM

beacuse its bad publicity
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Default 12-30-2003, 01:02 AM

That's not bad publicity. It's the truth. DXM and PCP are both disassociatives, and DXM is very readily available. What's bad about that?
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Default 12-30-2003, 04:22 AM

It was only a matter of time before the mainstream media, and all associated cretins, started bawling their little drug warrior eyes out over DXM and what a "terrible threat" it is.

Personally, I'm surprised the pharmaceutical industry isn't a bit more pissed off at the media for defamation of a relatively safe product (even in recreational dosages).

Now that it's all "coming out," the drug community could theoretically use this to their advantage. Of course doing so would result in a big lie. One which we would all have to play along with. That lie being that DXM is dangerous in almost any context, while the opposite is clearly true (for the time being). It probably wouldn't attract the necessary backlash for real progress, though. Still, consider it an exercise in spinning the seemingly bad to your advantage.

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