Teens abuse cough syrups

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

We've seen stricter controls on the sale of pseudoephedrine. Now it's another common cold medicine that has officials worried about its abuse.

While over the counter syrups may be effective at calming an annoying cough, they are also providing teens with another way to get high, something that's called "Robo-Tripping."

It's business as usual at King Pharmacy in Hazard, where the cough syrup sits in front of the counter.

But that all could change.

"They're drinking cough syrup and getting wild while doing it," said Representative Fitz Steele.

Steele proposed a bill to limit the sale of cough syrups containing dextromethorphan.

Anyone wanting to buy a product containing DXM would have to show identification at the prescription counter to prove that they are eighteen years old.

What's so alarming about the trend is the age of the abusers.

"The age group we've been seeing and getting calls about is pre-teens, ten, eleven, twelve years old," said Karen Kelly, with Operation Unite.

"It can lead to abuse of other drugs. This can be the first step in that cycle," said Eric Vermillion, a pharmacist at King's Pharmacy.

Although passing the bill may be a long process, Steele said it's a measure that's needed.

"I've spoken with legislators out in the east and in the west and in the metropolitan areas," said Steele.

Pharmacists said drinking those syrups can create a sense of euphoria. But when taken in high doses they also cause nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

Representative Steele's bill must first make it through committee before it can make it to the floor of the House.

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