Kids Robo-Tripping in Region 8

JONESBORO, AR -- While this is the season for using cough and cold medicine some are using it for reasons other than illness.  A government report says more than 3 million people between the ages of 12 and 25 have used the medicine to get high.

Jonesboro prowl officer Blake Bristow told Region 8 News the abuse of cough medicine is not uncommon right here in Region 8.

"It's mainly a common problem among teenagers who are not really old enough to purchase alcohol or things like that so they buy cough syrup or steal cough syrup and use it to get high," said Bristow.

Pharmacist Ken Gibson said he has heard of this abuse before, but many parents haven't.

"Kids are getting high off of drinking to much Robitussin DM.  They try to mix it with sprite or something that gives it a better flavor," said Gibson.

"There are over 140 cough syrups that contain some type of a alcohol or some type of agent that can make you sick or high," said Bristow.

It's not just over the counter cough syrups that kids are using.  They are using the prescription stuff too.

The use of cough syrup is not a new problem.  Kids have been doing it for years, but one thing that has changed is not all cough syrups contain alcohol anymore.  They contain something different called 'DM'.

"The 'DM' stands for dextromethaphan.  This is a derivative of the narcotic Codine.  It helps stop the cough as does Codine and with the excessive amount of the 'DM' you can get a high," said Gibson.

But Gibson said there's nothing wrong with using products like these.  When used properly they do the job they are meant to do.