Every year, millions of Americans purchase cough medicine in order to treat the symptoms associated with the common cold and seasonal flu. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the sale of over-the-counter medications has increased dramatically. Most people are able to take cough and cold medicine with impunity, finding temporary relief from symptoms like sore throat, cough and congestion until the symptoms subside entirely. Others, however, purchase these medications with the sole intention of using them to get high.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “A person can also get addicted to cough and cold medicines. Addiction happens when somebody can’t stop using a drug, even though using it has bad effects on their life. Several cough and cold medicines contain ingredients that are psychotropic (mind-altering) when they’re taken in higher-than-recommended dosages. One kind of cough medicine—called dextromethorphan (DXM)—acts on the same brain receptors as hallucinogenic drugs do.”
When a person takes a cough medicine containing dextromethorphan at a dose much higher than recommended, they might experience hallucinations, seeing, hearing and feeling things that are not actually there. Additionally, some prescription cough medicines contain codeine, an addictive opioid narcotic. If a person takes cough medicine containing codeine in order to get high, they run the risk of developing a physical tolerance, which can lead to physical dependence. They also run the risk of opioid overdose.
In recent times, people have begun mixing addictive and potentially dangerous cough medications with soda, and calling the substance “lean drink” or “sizzurp.” This combination has gained rampant popularity among adolescents and young adults, seeing as cough medicine is relatively easy to obtain. It is important to note that lean drink can be addictive when taken regularly. If you or someone you know and love has been misusing dextromethorphan or codeine cough syrup, there is help available, and recovery is possible. today to learn more.