- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Beware of Kids Using Cold Medicine to Get High
Observable Symptoms of Cold Medicine Abuse
Rapid heart beat
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.