Acadania's News Channel

March 17, 2004
Teens Abusing Coricidin
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KATC has a safe families warning for parents. Our safe families investigation shows teenagers are using a type of cold and flu medicine to get high. The problem has grabbed the attention of some pharmacies. And a teenager who believes parents should know the danger their children may be getting into is speaking out.

Seventeen-year-old Misti says, "A bunch of people go to school doing it [and] during weekends and stuff - just go partying." Misti has friends and knows other teens who use Coricidin to get high. It frightened her when she tried it two years ago. She took six pills and says the high lasted eleven to twelve hours. She remembers hallucinating and trying to sleep it off but couldn't. Misti hasn't taken Coricidin since. "I couldn't really see and I couldn't walk. If I'd go to pick something up, my hand was like limp. I couldn't really move," she says.

Coricidin used to be over the counter at Albertson's, but after pharmacists discovered large amounts were being stolen, they locked it up. It's been their policy for about a year now. Pharmacist Lori Maraist says, "I'd go out there, and we might have 10 or 15 empty boxes of Coricidin out there that they came and just pretty much cleared out." Maraist says it's the cough suppressant, DXM for short, in Coricidin and other medicines that gives the high.

"If you end up taking too much of it you could have respiratory depression, trouble breathing. It's chemically related vaguely to the codeine class of medications and morphine," she says.

Taking more than the recommended dose can become addicting and can be deadly. Misti told her parents about her experience. She and Maraist believe not enough parents know just how dangerous it can be. Maraist says, "It is much more prevalent than I would have ever imagined."

Other pharmacies, but not all have moved Coricidin behind the counter. Someone at the Poison Control Center tells Maraist they frequently get phone calls from parents with questions or people saying a friend isn't feeling well after taking too much Coricidin. For more information Poison Control recommends the website erowid.org.