Beware of Kids Using Cold Medicine to Get High

Observable Symptoms of Cold Medicine Abuse

Disorientation

Blurred vision

Slurred speech

Vomiting

Dizziness

Confusion

Abdominal pain

Rapid heart beat

Exhaustion

Paranoia

Excessive Sweating

High fever

Numbness of fingers and toes

Distortion of colors and sound

Loss of coordination

Loss of consciousness

 
Cold Medicine abuse is not a new practice, but some believe it's on the rise.  In a 2006 survey, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA gave us numbers.  That year about 5% of all people ages 12 - 35 had used an over the counter cold medicine to get high.    Among teenagers 12 - 17, the practice is more popular with girls than boys, but switches in the 18 - 25 group.  Nyquil was preferred by over 30% of the users, but Coricidin and Robitussin were also high on the list of products.  (There are also very inexpensive store brand copies of Nyquil, so cost is not an issue.)  Read here to find out what cold medicines can do to your child and how to spot symptoms. 
 

Cold Medicine Makes Teens Hallucinate

Over the counter (OTC) cold medicine is sold in syrups and pills.  The cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) that is an ingredient in most OTC cold medications is safe when taken at the recommended doses, but take enough of it and you can induce hallucinations similar to the results of taking LSD, or acid.  Dissociative episodes, described by experts as so called out-of-body experiences similar to the kind that can be cause by phencyclidine (PCP) and ketamine.  This state has been compared to the feeling a person has when they are suffering schizophrenia.  Effects can also mimic those of methamphetamine (Meth) or methylenedioxymethampheta-mine (MDMA, Ecstasy).
 

It Gets Worse

Kids used to suck down cold medicine for a quick high, but that causes vomiting.  In addition to handy cold pills, now they can buy DXM in pure powder form over the Internet. The powder can be snorted.  Teens can even access online dosing calculators to find out how much to take based on their weight.
 

Slang for Cold Medicine

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns parents against the practice, which of sipping cough syrup cocktails, in which cold medicine is mixed with soda or sports drinks.  Southern rap music is blamed for popularizing the drinks, but in an interview, a SAMHSA rep stated that the abuse among white kids was three times that of blacks.  This drink is known as Syrup, Purple Drank - or any of the following:  Purple Oil, Trip Leak, Barre, Sizzurp, Drank, Purple Tonic, Southern Lean, Texas Tea, Memphis Mud, Mrs. Dranklesworth, Tsikuni, Lean, Syrup, P-Flav, Slip, Purple Sprite, Surp, Bazzigazzulp, and Purp.  There's no way you could keep up with all the teen-speak.  You're better off looking for the symptoms.

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Comments 6 comments

Justine T profile image

Justine T 6 years ago from WI

Yeah kids are useing cold medican of a way of tripping dont you think that they should put thous things behind counters its to easy to lift of the shelf.


steve 6 years ago

southern music is not too blame becuase they are talkin about codeine cough syrup a narcotic painkiller...much diffrent then nyquil or robotussin


JOHN_DOE2721 7 years ago

WHY CANT THEY MAKE THIS HARDER FOR KIDS TO GET AHOLD OF LIKE THE GOVERMENT HAS ON THE PART OF THE COLD PILLS FOR METH USERS. WHAT IS THIS COUNTRY COMING TO WHERE A ADULT CAN HAVE HIS DRUG PROBLEM MADE HARDER FOR THE DEALERS TO MAKE IT BUT KIDS AND CHEAP HIGHS AND TRIPING GET EASIER


Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson 8 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas Author

Yes, Paul - I think Robo High, or Robo Tripping. How fun.


Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 8 years ago from Burlingame, CA

Isn't this called Ribo? When you guzzle a bottle of robitussin.


JerseyGirl profile image

JerseyGirl 8 years ago from Jersey Shore

It's sad, but true. Kids getting high on all sorts of things. Good hub, glad that you published it. Hopefully it will give some parents the heads up on what kids are doing now a days.

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