Addiction to Cough Syrup and Over the Counter Drugs – Teenage Drug Abuse

Substance addiction can come in many forms and widely differing materials. Aside from being addicted to illegal drugs and household chemicals, there is now an inexpensive alternative: cough syrup, as well as over the counter drugs, both of which can be acquired quite legally. The sad thing about it is that the teens addicted to these drugs are abusing a substance that was originally created to heal sickness and alleviate pain.

Cough syrup contains codeine, commonly used for analgesic purposes. It can be extracted from opium or synthesized from morphine, both of which are addictive drugs in themselves. Prescription-grade cough syrup contains larger concentrations of this chemical.

A common effect is an altered state of mind and sedation of the user, causing numbness. Users can easily go overboard as well, with overdose symptoms in common with other opiates. Some medicines also contain antihistamines that can cause another sedative effect.

Promethazine is also combined with codeine to combat cough, but this is also a chemical that, on its own, could also cause strong reactions in the user. It is a sedative drug, and as normally goes with these types of chemicals, causes inhibited function in terms of vision, and being slowed and having slurred speech as well. Users describe this feeling as being “zazzed”, when everything around you goes slowly.

Codeine in cough syrup is usually taken in a form called Purple Drank. The moniker comes from its color, which usually ranges from purple to pink depending on the cough syrup used and the ratio of mixing it with other drinks such as sodas.

This practice first gained influence in the southern states, and hip-hop artists popularized its use with the masses by including it in their songs. Effects include increased auditory sensations and visual stimuli, and leads to a feeling of being disconnected and strange, erratic behavior.

Among the foremost dangers in addictions of this type is how easy someone can get the materials, considering that it’s legally purchased from drugstores. Another scary factor is how cheaply it can be gotten, and considering the prices for illegal drugs, this would seem like a no-brainer for most teens on tight budgets wanting to get high.

A few dollars is all it takes to get high. The chemical of choice for most of the youth is Dextromorphan, also known as DXM, a substance found in many cough syrup formulations as well. This is what is commonly referred to as “Skittles” in underground lingo, and may even cause heart palpitations if it is abused. Medicine in tablet form contains much larger quantities of DXM; therefore a similar effect of consuming large amounts of syrup could be duplicated by just a few tablets.

Even cough syrup based drinks are easy to obtain, because all it takes is some prescription cough syrup, a can of soda, a Styrofoam cup, and you’re ready to get high. This is a very simple process in comparison to other types of drugs. Scary when you think of the implications. This is used as a recreational drink, and the effect will depend on the amount of the cough syrup, the ratio of mixing, and what else you put in it, commonly other pain-relieving tablets.

Sleeping aids can also be addictive in large enough doses, and could also have long-term effects on the user. Narcolepsy is common, and causes episodes of micro-sleep. This is particularly dangerous when driving, then falling asleep at the wheel. Diet pills being taken in larger than prescribed doses to shed weight faster is also dangerous, because the effects on the body are increased to a dangerous level.