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Default 08-24-2004, 07:14 AM

Cold medications can seem like heaven when you are coughing uncontrollably and drowning in mucous.
But as all too many Fort Collins teens are finding out, that's not the only time those over-the-counter drugs can bring on a euphoric effect.

Local youth advocates say an alarming number of Larimer County youths are abusing cough syrup and cold medications such as Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, commonly known as "Triple C."

Taking as much as 10 times the recommended dose, kids across the United States are "robo- tripping" their way to hallucinations and euphoria not unlike the effects produced by methamphetamine.

"It's just crude meth," said Dr. Don Beard, a semi-retired pediatrician and a consultant with The Center, a Fort Collins-based youth treatment organization. The pseudoephedrine found in Sudafed and other cold tablets and the dextromethorphan, or DXM, found in many cough suppressants are base ingredients for making meth.

Affecting the basal ganglia, or pleasure center of the brain, the drugs produce euphoric effects but also can result in increased body temperature, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, seizures, loss of consciousness, brain and liver damage, respiratory distress and even death.

Laurie Klith, executive director of The Center, said some local teens are abusing pseudoephedrine and DXM. From October 2003 through this month, 39 youths at The Center have admitted to taking Triple C and drinking Robitussin cough syrup, Klith said.

Tyson Hart, a 17-year-old from Loveland, is one of them.

"The first time I tried it was about a year ago," said Hart, who became clean in May after he was arrested for stealing over-the-counter medicines from Safeway. "I tried it once, and it just made me feel like I was drunk. After that, I got hooked."

Danielle Garfield, a case manager with The Center, said her clients describe a sense of unbelievable euphoria, often coupled with hallucinations. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, DXM abuse causes distorted perceptions of sight and sound, as well as feelings of detachment or separation from the environment and self.

"It was just crazy," Hart said. "It was like you weren't even there."

Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant. Taken in normal doses, DXM is a cough suppressant, but it has a stimulating effect when taken in large doses.

While some kids use the drugs to self-medicate for attention deficit disorder and mental-health problems, advocates say the majority are simply experimenting.

Like most teens who abuse Triple C and other decongestants, Hart began stealing drugs from local pharmacies to feed his habit.

"We'd grab all the boxes they had there," he said. "We'd go to Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, Safeway, Kmart."

Because they are legal, nonprescription drugs, the cold medications often are kept on store shelves, where they are easily accessible to teens.

Catching on to the trend, however, many local pharmacies are taking steps to prevent abuse.

Jeanette Yochum, a pharmacist at Walgreen's, 2190 W. Drake Road, said some Walgreen's stores limit access to cold medicines, keeping them behind the counter and not allowing customers to purchase more than one or two boxes.

"It is a problem," she said, noting that theft has become more common.

Les Moll, pharmacy manager at Longs Drugs, 1538 E. Harmony Road, said his staff keeps packages with large quantities behind the counter. But Moll said he hasn't seen a big problem with teens stealing cold medications.

For two and half months, Hart said he was averaging 16 pills a day. That's when his attitude changed, and he began fighting with his mother.

On New Year's Eve, Hart came home high, falling down and acting like he was drunk, said his mom, Kris Johnson, 42, of Loveland. Two weeks later, after coming home high again, Hart told his mom about his drug problem.

"In hindsight, he was talking about Triple C and robo-tripping," Johnson said, urging parents to listen to their kids with an educated and discerning ear. "I didn't know what that was."

While dilated pupils, stumbling, drunk-like actions and loss of judgment are some of the signs, Johnson said Hart abused drugs for months without her realizing it.

"He was always going to school, doing what he had to do," she said. "I wasn't seeing a big difference in his behavior."

But at the height of his addiction, Hart became volatile and angry, and he started running away.

At one point, Johnson discovered 12 empty bottles of Robitussin cough syrup while unpacking Hart's bags. Weeks later, she got a call from police saying he'd been picked up trying to steal pills at Safeway.

Not long after, Hart was enrolled in treatment at Pathways to Recovery and has since thrived in classes at The Center.

"He has totally turned things around now," Johnson said, considering her family lucky that Hart got a second chance. Not all users are so fortunate.

"These kids are blowing out of school. They're defiant, running away, involved in criminal activity," Klith said. "To think that some of these kids have driver's licenses and they're driving."

Local advocates are urging parents to be aware of the over-the-counter trend, to learn the signs and to get a little nosy to protect their kids. That means recognizing that just because a drug is legal doesn't mean everything is OK.

"We just need to have parents raise their level of awareness," Klith said. "Ask the questions -- 'Who are you with? What are you doing?' -- and be aware of what's in your kids' rooms."

Garfield said she wishes stores would become more aware and put the drugs behind the counter.

Johnson said she thinks good communication and making sure kids know they can talk to their parents without them getting mad is key.

"I think (Tyson) was trying to tell me he had a problem," she said. "If you find a box of cold medications in your kid's backpack, it's not because they have a cold."

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Default 08-24-2004, 08:21 AM

Again, just skimming this article I found several errors that if the writer had simply done his/her research, would not be there.

Opioid users: Please check out both Opioficionado and Opiophile, harm reduction forums for opioids.

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Default 08-24-2004, 09:45 AM

self medicating ADD with psuedoephedrine!??!


stupidpunker88 is no more............Ahhhh_Tahh is born!


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mmmm... i love teh tweak
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Default 08-24-2004, 12:19 PM

I have yo shit. anyways there were allot of errors in there

oblivion is bliss!
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libel Offline
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Default 08-24-2004, 07:13 PM

Cold medications can seem like heaven
The pseudoephedrine found in Sudafed and other cold tablets and the dextromethorphan, or DXM, found in many cough suppressants are base ingredients for making meth.


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Default 08-24-2004, 10:49 PM

Originally posted by lucidistortions@Aug 24 2004, 06:13 PM
The pseudoephedrine found in Sudafed and other cold tablets and the dextromethorphan, or DXM, found in many cough suppressants are base ingredients for making meth.


I think they meant psuedoephedrine which is included in DXM products can be used to create meth. But who knows, they could just be complete corotards.

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Default 08-24-2004, 11:56 PM

THATS WHY I SAID " HALF TRUTHS " AS I KNOW PSEUDO IS USED IN METH SYNTH... But why would they include dextromethorphan in this sentence without wanting to lead that this dxm is involved with the terrrrible meth?
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Default 08-25-2004, 05:26 AM

These so called profesionals wouldn't or couldn't speak the TRUTH if their life depended on it. From what I see, as a 34 year old, I see the same propaganda, scare tactics as "Reefer Madness" in the late 1930's or early 1940's that actually inferred (to put it mildly), that if one were to inhale the smoke from a Cannabis Sativa plant, they would turn into a lawbreaking terribly antisocial person. We know this is FALSE. It is the same today, lots of propaganda, NOTHING TO BACK IT UP! Nearly harmless as usual, now let's talk about REAL HARM, TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL! No, that is so well documented, it is not funny. Let's get the STUPID public's mind on the innocuous. Let's get the fools thinking about cough syrup, just to cover our asses. It makes me sick.
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Default 08-26-2004, 08:10 PM

I've never done meth, but I know some tweakers, and I highly doubt DXM is like a "cheap form of meth"

Oh well. I'm pretty much done laughing at all the errors in these newspapers. But it makes one wonder if its only on drug issues they mess up or all different topics. Should we really take for granted the information in any news article?
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Default 08-28-2004, 11:34 AM

We shouldn't believe anything a journalist says.

All they really want is to sell papers, and what sells papers? Stories like this. Even if the writer doesn't have that same intention, the editor soon changes that.

If this guy/gal had done ANY research, they would have realised that one of the only things that meth and DXM appear to have in common are the elements Carbon and Hydrogen, and that they both have one Methyl functional group. =/ (Or does meth also contain the benzene ring?)

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