Youths overdosing on non-prescription meds - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Youths overdosing on non-prescription meds


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

"This is going to kill our children," said Sarah Tippins.

Tippins has found five boxes of the cough and cold medicine Coricidin hidden in her child's belongings after her 16 year old overdosed on the drug.

It's a medicine local law enforcement say is becoming more popular as a recreational drug for kids as young as 12 years old.

"Any kid can go buy it," said Tippins. "They take four to five at a time. Five is a lethal dose. It is for high blood pressure, as you can see. It thins out the blood. It is compared to PCP."

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.

"My mom called me and told me my child had overdosed on something, and she was tripping and hitting my mom, who is partially paralyzed and seeing all sorts of stuff and we rushed her to the hospital," said Tippins. "They never found drugs in her system. After 48 hours, when my child was sober enough and coherent enough to talk to me, she told me, this is what she had been taking."

"Around here, is it hard for law enforcement to enforce anything because these kids or teengagers are getting it over the counter, but they are consuming it at a lot more than they should, which is causing more effects," said Effingham County Public Information Officer David Ehsanipoor.

Local law enforcement wants parents to know there are a lot of kids using this medication that is easily available over the counter.

If you notice an unordinary amount of cold medicines in your kids rooms, backpacks or cars, it may be a red flag.

"I am worried for the health of my child and every child around," said Tippins. "I am worried for the parents that are not aware of the situation at hand. This is what is going on with our children."

About one in 10 teens uses cough syrup or cold medicine to get high, according the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Tippins plans on working with local lawmakers to enforce stricter laws on cold medicine.

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