One in 10, or over two million young people, report having abused cough medicine or its active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high. Many teens use between 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage to get the desired results, often with negative consequences.
Further, the Internet provides a venue for promoting this escalating danger.
Now, five concerned moms, from a variety of backgrounds and locales scattered across the U.S., have banded together to take a stand against this surging substance abuse problem.
In joint effort with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) these five moms will fight dextromethorphan abuse with a mix of awareness, promotion and education about the dangers of this growing trend. One that many parents do not realize exists.
The Five Mom campaign has several hurdles. First are the social networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube which feature detailed instructions on how to get high with cough syrup or dextromethorphan and videos and blogs glorifying the dextromethorphan experience.
More dangerous is the ability to buy the raw form of dextromethorphan simply by providing a credit card and shipping address and a number of websites promote its sale.
Raw dextromethorphan can be deadly and it is important for parents to know the signs of its use and how to respond.
Federal legislation has been introduced that would limit these sales to researchers and the pharmacology industry and concerned parents are encouraged to support such a measure.
Five Moms also maintains a community on the social-networking site, Gather.com, where the public can talk with Five Moms and other concerned parents.
Additionally, a video is available that highlights some of the lies kids tell their parents, how easy it is to get high and some of the deleterious experiences teens have with “Dex.”
Kids even maintain a slew of slang to describe cough syrup abuse which Five Moms helps concerned individuals decrypt. This includes popular expressions such as Robo-tripping, Dex-ing, Robo-fizzing, and Skittling.
The Five Mom CHPA sponsored campaign has partnered with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America to provide tools for community leaders and public awareness campaigns.
D.A.R.E. America is also on board and slated to add cough syrup abuse to its curriculum.
Aside from the various positive effects claimed by abusers, young people and parents need to be aware of the side-effects of dextromethorphan use, these can include body rash/itching, disassociation, gastrointestinal disturbances, drowsiness, dizziness, excitation, vomiting, blurred vision, sweating, fever, hypertension, shallow respiration, cardiac abnormalities and several other effects.
“The people who promote cough medicine abuse online are Internet predators, plain and simple,” said Five Mom and Deputy Sheriff Becky Dyer. “The teenagers who glorify this abuse on the Internet have no idea what danger they’re putting themselves and others in. And the people selling raw dextromethorphan to our kids just don’t care.”
SOURCE: FiveMoms.com, CHPA (http://www.chpa-info.org/ChpaPortal/) May 10, 2007