Chicago area sees increase in teen use of cough syrup - KMSP-TV

Chicago area sees increase in teen use of cough syrup

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

YouTube is filled with disturbing videos of teens high on cough syrup - raising a red flag on the new surge in abuse.

"It can be terribly dangerous and I don't think that the teenagers realize that there are other medications that are combined in these cough and cold medications that can have serious side effects such as liver damage, because there's Tylenol or acetaminophen products in a lot of them," said Jacqueline Corboy, Pediatric Medical Director at Laurie Children's Hospital's Northwestern Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

Corboy has seen a dramatic increase in cases of teens coming to the emergency room high on over the counter cold and cough medicines.

"We've always had one or two per month over the last several years but now we've had five to ten per week and in one week we had ten with three in one day and they all came from the same high school," said Corboy.

"They develop some type of euphoria and also hallucinations from taking large doses of this medication. (Can you die?) There's a potential for life threatening symptoms," said Jerome Dimaano, a certified specialist in poison information at the Illinois Poison Center.

The active ingredient is Dextromethorphan.

"They will call them Skittles, triple C, robo shots, Dext or DXM, said Dimaano.

The dangerous trend gained popularity four years ago but died down - it's since resurfaced with a vengeance.

"Because it's cheap and it's readily available and it's in most homes as a cough suppressant cough medication and it's available as a liquid, gel cap and a tablet," said Dimaano.

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