Posts Tagged cough medicine abuse

The Story of a Teen’s Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse

A teenager shares her story of OTC drug addiction, specifically with cough syrups, which she hid from her family for the longest time.

cough syrup abuseKristin, now 18, got her first taste of over-the-counter cough medications when she was about 15 or 16 years old. She admits that during those times, she had personal issues that needed to addressed.

Television became her source of information on the effects of cough medications. In the beginning, she took out a bottle from their medicine cabinet and drank all of its content. She felt so drunk after and then she began taking the drug on a regular basis for at least twice a week.

At a point when she was using the drug more often, she had to buy the item herself, and there were times when pharmacies refused to sell the medication to her due to her age. She was still able to get hold of the drug by having older people buy it for her.

Her high school friends did not know anything about her addiction. She found other students who were on the same situation she was in. She made friends with them and they were the ones who introduced other types of drugs and alcohol to her system. By this time, she leveled up to OxyContin and morphine pills.

Her studies suffered and things started to take a bad turn. From being a straight-A student, she was now hardly making it to the cut. Still, she kept everything from her parents.

Her family knew of her addiction when she finally got arrested. She stole something from her teacher and the teacher called the cops. She eventually told her parents she was hooked for years, and they were surprised that they did not know anything about it.

Today, Kristin is under the Lexington Center for Recovery for treatment. Kristin says, “It’s hard, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I wish that I had never started in the first place because when you do, once is never enough. It’s not worth it. You’re just going to end up dying or in jail.”

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What Parents Can Do to Prevent Cough Syrup Abuse

We have already discussed how cough medicines can be dangerous to kids when taken in amounts larger than medically recommended. Now, we move on to how parents can ensure that their kids are as far away from cough syrup abuse as possible.

cough syrupCheck for code words

Even if your kids don’t try to hide it, if you don’t understand the language used by those abusing cough medicines, you will not be able to detect cough syrup abuse in your child. Remember the terms robo-tripping, robotard, skittling, skittles, tussing, red devils, velvet, triple C, and CCC, as these are some of the names commonly used to refer to cough and cold medication abuse.

Conduct a regular medicine cabinet inventory

It is important to keep a checklist of the medicines available at home, and be aware of who uses them and how often. Check medicines that contain dextromethorphan or DXM as an the active ingredient, and do not stock plenty of them in your medicine cabinet. You may also keep them in less accessible places, like in a cabinet inside your own bedroom.

Be vigilant of physical signs of cough syrup abuse

Cough syrups will leave a medicinal odor, so stay close to your kids and try to notice any unusual odor. Also observe for slurry speech, constant drowsiness, or unsteady walking. Be careful when your child frequently complains of cough or colds but does not really show the symptoms. You can also check for empty bottles in his or her bag, garbage can, or room.

Stay on top of the situation. Discuss the dangers of drug abuse with your kids, and ensure that any sign of abuse will not pass you unnoticed.

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Medicine Cabinet at Home May Be Source of Drug Abuse

Many parents have become more aware of the dangers of recreational drugs that kids have been exposed to nowadays, but a good number don’t realize that the danger is not just found outside of the home. There is a dangerous substance that parents may unknowingly supply to their kids — the cough syrup or tablets sitting innocently inside the medicine cabinet.

cough syrupCough syrups and pills are conveniently available in drug stores, supermarkets and most of the time, also at home. It is used to treat coughing, either to loosen the mucus from the respiratory tract or to suppress the act of coughing itself. While it is actually a substance of significant use, it can also be dangerous when ingested in large amounts.

Dextromethorphan (DXM or DM) is an active ingredient in many cough and cold medicines.  The average dose contains about 15 to 30 milligrams. When taken at doses greater than medically recommended, DXM can be classified as a psychedelic substance. The intake of DXM in large amounts can result to nausea, irregular heartbeat, blurred vision and slurred speech, hallucinations, loss of consciousness, or even death.

Manufacturers have already made the taste of their cough syrups unpleasant to discourage recreational use. While this is a good move, there are still other options kids can take. Kids don’t have to drink a bottle of cough syrup to feel the effects of DXM. Also available are pills with far more potent doses of DXM.

Dextromethorphan also becomes particularly more dangerous when taken with other drugs.

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