Young People Are Abusing Cold Medicine - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/29/03 - Florida

Young People Are Abusing Cold Medicine

The popular cold pill Coricidin isn't just for stuffy noses anymore. Drug experts say young people, about ages 11-16, mostly are abusing them to get high, similar to PCP or Heroin.

"It makes your body messed up. You can't move. It's like you're tripping," said one teen.

They call them the Triple C's, short for Coricidin, Cough and Cold, each pill stamped with three C's. They're not illegal nor expensive, and are sold over the counter. They are very easy for young people to get.

"They probably figure they're beating the system. They're not even worried about getting arrested. What they don't worry about is they're literally rolling the dice with their lives," said Joe Kilmer, DEA Special Agent.

In Chicago, Dr. Charles Nozicka treats teens in the ER at St. Alexis Medical Center about twice a month.

"They go to a party and someone says it's just cold medicine. It will just make you feel really good. Just try it. You can buy this in a store. It's not a big deal," said Nozicka.

The pills include a drug called Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant commonly found in Coricidin and other non-prescription cough syrups, including Robitussin.

Teenagers, Mary and Ashley from Milwaukee, were treated for overdoses last fall.

"It's not like we do it purposely. This drug is addictive. If you do it once, you just have the urge to do it again. It's just like you can't help it," said Ashley.

"They were literally tearing at the pack with their teeth. Trying to get the last one open, and they couldn't get it open. That's what saved them," said Ashley's mother.

Schering-Plough, the pharamaceutical company that makes Coricidin calls its product safe and effective when used as directed and added this:

"We are trying to do our part and educate teens and parents and at the same time, make sure the people who need it get our product."

While law enforcement admits some young people might get the wrong idea from hearing about how these pills are being used, they still think it is a good idea to educate parents to try and prevent these kinds overdoses.

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