Chesterfield Teens Using Cough Syrup to Get High

CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) – More and more teens are
using cough medicine to get high in Chesterfield County.

It's not a new problem,
using cough syrups to get high, but it has become a growing one in Chesterfield
as survey numbers show more teens are doing it than ever before.

It's the cough suppressant
found in cough medicine, DXM, but it's also the ingredient that can get kids
high if they take too much.

“The rate
of abuse among high schoolers in Chesterfield County is about three times as
great as the national average,” says Chesterfield SAFE's Wayne Frith.

Frith says he believes
more kids are turning to cough medicine because the county has cracked down on
prescription and other types of drug abuse, but too much medicine can cause
serious problems.

Dr. Curt Heimbach with the
west creek emergency center says most of those medicines contain other
ingredients that can also have negative impacts.

mental status…confusion,” he says. “You can
have liver failure and permanent damage to your liver from that with continued

Heimbach says he's seen firsthand
what can happen during his time at VCU Medical Center.

“We did have a few serious
cases with liver failure from it.”

Frith says some stores
don't sell the medicines to anyone under 18 but many still do.

“That is not universal,
nor is it required by law. That's what we're working for is getting drug stores
to take on some of that self-imposed monitoring.”

Doctors say to treat cough medicines like
prescription drugs and keep them locked up or at least monitor them.


Copyright 2013 by Young
Broadcasting of Richmond

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