Your medicine cabinet may cause the death of your teen, due to cough syrup abuse. It may surprise parents and caretakers to know that their medicine cabinet filled with seemingly harmless OTC (over the counter) cough syrups, can be life-threatening for your teens, and they’ll need a substance abuse treatment center in Portland Oregon.
The main culprit in these products is dextromethorphan (DXM), an expectorant which clears up wet or mucous coughs when you take the recommended dose. If taken in large doses, it causes hallucinogenic effects similar to PCP and Ketamine.
What Happens When You Take Too Much Cough Syrup?
If you mildly increase the recommended dose of cough syrup with DXM, then you will experience a buzz like alcohol. As you increase the dose, you may get symptoms like difficulty urinating, dissociation of body and mind, hallucinations and a heightened sense of perceptual awareness. These symptoms may last up to 72 hours. After long-term cough syrup abuse, your teen may experience effects such as insomnia, memory and concentration difficulties, liver damage, coma, and even death.
Lean and Purple drank
Some Prescription Cough Syrup drug contains promethazine and codeine, this is mixed with Sprite, Fanta Grape or Mountain Dew with a hard fruit candy like a Jolly Rancher added for extra sweetness and called Purple Drank.
This causes mild euphoria, dissociation, and difficulties with motor coordination. Be alert, aware and listen to your kid’s conversation for clues. If you hear “lean on the syrup” or “robotripping”. a red flag must appear in your mind. It is said that this started in the 1960s when blues artists took Robitussin and cut it with beer.
Later in the 80s and 90s, they changed the formula to cough syrup with codeine or promethazine. Other street names for DXM are Purple Drank, Tussin, Robo, Velvet, Skittles, Triple C, Lean.
The Red Flags of Cough Syrup Abuse
Parents and Caregivers take note. Has your teen’s behavior changed? Yes, granted this is a difficult time for you and your teen, the hormonal changes, interest in the opposite sex peaks, increased moodiness, and they push boundaries and they want their own space are all prevalent. However, if you can answer yes to the following questions then your teen is not manifesting common teen behavior:
- Do you find empty Cough Syrup bottles, tablets, and gel capsules packs of these products: Coricidin Cough and Cold Tablets, Dimetapp DM, Robitussin cough products, Triaminic cough syrups, Tylenol Cold products, Vicks NyQuil LiquiCaps, Mucinex
- Have their grades dropped
- Are they skipping school
- Does your teen forget to submit projects on time or not at all
In addition to:
- Is your teen losing weight
- Have you caught them lying, stealing or shoplifting
- Or do you suspect any of those behaviors
- Has their routine changed
- Have their hygiene habits changed
How to Tell if Your Teen is Abusing Cough Syrup
If you answered yes to the previous questions, then this can be a strategy, firstly gather your evidence like the empty cough syrup bottles from your teen’s room. Do not rush into their room and rant and rave, they will become defensive and you’ll lose the opportunity.
Choose your time wisely. Find a time when you are both relaxed and have the time to talk, not five minutes before breakfast or just as your teen must catch the bus. Also, ensure that your teen is sober when you have the talk. Listen to your teen but know that of their manipulations. Trust your parent’s intuition.