Teens Using Cold Medicine to Get High

By: WIFR Newsroom
By: WIFR Newsroom
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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A cure for the common cold is becoming the drug of choice for some local teens.

A local mom has a warning for other parents after almost losing her own daughter to a cold medicine overdose.

Elizabeth Jones says three weeks ago her 16-year-old daughter wouldn’t get out of bed. She was groggy and barely speaking or moving. Jones called 9-1-1 and got her daughter to the hospital.

That’s when she found out the teen had been taking dozens of pills every day to get high. Some local students are turning to the over-the-counter medication Coricidin HBP cough and cold. The active ingredient, Dextromethorphan or DXM is what gets kids high. Jones says it made her daughter act drunk.

At some stores, the medicines with XM are sold on store shelves and you don’t need to ask a pharmacist in order to buy it.

“At one point she was so high she tried taking her clothes off at school and her friends tried to put them back on her. She says she’d take a whole box. If I can be that one voice to get those pills behind the counter, that’s what I want to do,” said Jones.

Jones says her daughter was in the hospital for a week and a half and is back home now. She’s found new activities to keep her daughter active and not tempted to abuse drugs again.

The nursing staff at Rosecrance says about 20% of the kids in their adolescence treatment program have used drugs with DXM. Rosecrance counselors suggest when talking to kids to emphasize that even though these drugs are legal, they can have long term side effects like liver and heart damage.


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