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Cough Medicine Abuse

A teen thinking about teen cough medicine abuse

Many parents don’t recognize the signs of cough medicine abuse in their teens. Yet, as one of the most accessible types of drugs that can cause a high, it is something teens seek out. Often called sizzurp or purple drank, this type of use can create addiction as well as addictive tendencies that follow a child into adulthood and beyond. Those who are taking medications like DXM may need professional treatment. Destinations for Teens can provide that help. For more information about substance use disorder treatment, call us today at 877.466.0620.

How Does Cough Medicine Abuse Happen?

Teens are sometimes known for their inclination to search through medicine cabinets in pursuit of substances that can provide a cheap and legal high. Among the various options, cough medicines have been misused for this purpose. This behavior can be incredibly risky, particularly when it becomes a habitual practice.

Historically, before the 1970s, codeine was commonly included in over-the-counter cough medications for its medicinal properties. However, following regulatory changes by the Food and Drug Administration, this highly addictive opiate was replaced with dextromethorphan (DMX). Unlike codeine, DMX does not carry the same risk of opiate addiction. Nevertheless, it does offer teenagers a means to achieve the desired euphoric effects. This cycle may contribute to the development of cough medicine abuse over time.

There are many types of cough medicines that contain DXM. This includes:

  • Syrups
  • Tablets
  • Gelcaps
  • Cough drops and lozenges
  • Capsules 

Any of these products, notably those named with “DM” or “Tuss,” are likely to contain enough DMX to create that sought after high.

Signs a Teen Is Using Sizzurp

It may not be easy to notice that a teen is using cough medicine to get high. Common slang terms for this include purple drank and sizzurp. If teens are using these terms, especially in text messages or on social media, that is one indication that the teen may be engaging in this type of behavior.

Parents can also monitor their access to medications. If there are missing medications of any type, that is an indication that there may be some use occurring. In many situations, medications with DMX are easy to notice by reading the ingredients. Some parents may wish to stop purchasing medications with these components in them. There are alternatives available that a pharmacist may recommend. 

Other signs to consider is the need to remain in the bathroom where medications are for long periods of time as well as having a high. This is not a profound high that would come from drugs like heroin or cocaine, but it can still be noticeable to many parents. In addition to this, parents may wish to look at the teen’s behavior in school, with friends, and with family. 

Recognize the Dangers and Seek Treatment Options

Sizzurp is dangerous even if it is sold over the counter. Too much can lead to health complications. Use of it on a constant basis teaches a teen how to seek out a high and often encourages more significant drug use. This may lead to the use of prescription drugs or illicit drugs. Teens may have more access than parents recognize, especially with the ease of communicating over social media.

For those who notice cough medicine abuse occurring, it may be time to seek help. Treatment options are available from Destinations for Teens, including through programs such as:

How Can Treatment Help With Cough Medicine Abuse?

Effective treatment for cough medicine abuse often involves a combination of therapeutic strategies aimed at addressing both the physical dependency and the psychological aspects of addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely recognized as particularly effective, helping teens to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with substance abuse. Another important component is motivational interviewing (MI), which encourages patients to find their own motivation for seeking treatment and making positive changes.

Treatment helps people overcome addiction to cough medicine by offering the tools and support necessary to manage cravings, deal with underlying issues such as anxiety or depression, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. This comprehensive approach ensures that both the psychological and physical facets of addiction are addressed, paving the way for a successful recovery.

Find Support by Calling Destinations for Teens Today

Are you worried about a teen engaging in sizzurp or purple drink? It so, it’s time to get help for cough medicine abuse before it leads to health complications. Treatment is effective and may help to ensure a teen’s life improves significantly. To learn more about the treatment options available, call Destinations for Teens at 877.466.0620 or use our online contact form for support.