We spoke to a few chemists about what they did to prevent the abuse of easy-to-buy medications.
Evidence is sorely lacking for the value of any over-the-counter remedy to treat most coughs.
Nigeria’s drug abuse problem has been put under the spotlight by a new investigative documentary.
Across several major Nigerian cities, many young adults are known to be addicted to several illicit drugs but, in recent years, opioid-based cough syrups in particular have become a serious menace.
Zimbabwe is at risk of losing its youth to codeine cough syrup, as the addiction epidemic has already engulfed what the experts estimate could be over half the country’s young people. Despite the growing problem, Zimbabwe’s government has not yet opened rehabilitation clinics, meaning addicts are often sent to prison or psychiatric wards.
Hello. My name is Adam Tod Brown, and I'm addicted to cough syrup."
That's a sentence I've never actually had to say out loud to anyone, but only because I'm fundamentally opposed to meetings of any sort. I should have, though, because the sentence used to be true. I know it sounds absurd, but for a solid two years of my life, I was indeed addicted to cough syrup.
Unfortunately, another group that has taken to purple drank and consuming over-the-counter cough syrup to get high are teens. Young adults, impressionable due to lack of experience, emulate people in the spotlight. Hip hop artists, celebrities and sports stars - all complicit in extolling the virtues of consuming the syrupy drink - hold favor in the eye of younger generations.
A recent article in the Journal of Emergency Medicine
tells the story of a 20-year-old kid from Portland, Oregon that extracted the active ingredient, dextromethorphan, from some cough syrup and tried to get high with it. Thanks to the doctors that treated him, their patient did not earn a Darwin Award.
A cough suppressant. Well, actually, in the body it becomes dextrorphan, a cough suppressant, and levorphanol, a painkiller five times as powerful as morphine. Like PCP and ketamine, DXM is also an NMDA receptor antagonist, so the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists it as a "dissociative" drug. Twelve times the recommended dose of NyQuil leads to distorted perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment — dissociation — from the environment and oneself. For people whose bodies are unusually slow at metabolizing the drug, even low doses of DXM trigger full-blown "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" psychedelic trips.
My friends in recovery and I can laugh over our similar past adventures and mishaps with weed and booze. Pissing the bed? Waking up next to strangers? We’ve all been there. But who chugs a bottle of Vicks Non-Drowsy cough syrup to get high minutes before ballet class?
DXM is an abbreviation for the drug dextromethorphan, which is an effective cough suppressant ingredient found in many over-the-counter cough medicines. When taken according to directions, products containing DXM produce few side effects and have a long history of safety and effectiveness. When abused, DXM has dissociative effects and can cause serious damage, like illicit drugs.