Cough and cold medications being used for 'sizzurp' - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Cough and cold medications being used for 'sizzurp'

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The dangerous practice of abusing cough and cold medicine is on the rise.

Teens are now using the medicine as a way to get a "quick and easy high." The state of California has recently banned children under 18 years old from purchasing cough syrup without a prescription from a doctor. 

Rap star Lil Wayne was recently hospitalized after having multiple seizures. Many contribute his condition to the years of abuse of the substance known as 'sizzurp' which is cough syrup with codeine. 

" Most of these medications are going to contain an ingredient called dextromethorphan, that ingredient of itself in high doses is what the teenagers are after regarding their high,"said Shane Speights, a St. Bernards doctor. 

"This has actually been on the scene for quite a while for over several years , we've known that children, teenagers, adolescents have been abusing cold medication," he said. 

In 1970, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration replaced the narcotic codeine with dextromethorphan (DXM). According to recent studies, DXM abuse is common because of the easy access to over the counter medications.

"Usually cough syrup that you get from your physician, those are going to be opiate containing those are going to be medicines stronger than your over the counter medications," Speights said.

Parents should be on the look out for any odd behavior from their child and should be sure to discard of any cold medicine.

"What parents want to be on the look out for is an altered mental state, they're not quite acting right, maybe they are not walking correctly, an abnormal gate, their pupils can be dilated, their heart rate will almost always be really high," he said.

Each year, thousands of children under age 12 go to the emergency room after taking over-the-counter cough and cold medicine, unsupervised.

Parents should throw away any old cold and cough medicine, read the label to be aware of the ingredients in the medicine and be sure not to leave any medications around their children.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved. 

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