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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.

How Does Cough Medicine Abuse Happen?

Teens are known for their ability to raid medicine cabinets to find drugs to help them get a cheap and legal high. Cough medicines can do that. This is potentially dangerous, especially when done over time. Prior to the 1970s, over the counter cough medications contained codeine as a treatment. After that time, the Food and Drug Administration made changes that removed the highly addictive opiate from these medications and replaced it with dextromethorphan (DMX). DMX does not create the same type of opiate addiction, but it does teach teens how to get the buzz they desire. And that is what leads to cough medicine abuse over time. 

When Does This Happen?

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:

Find Support by Calling Destinations for Teens Today

Are you worried about a teen engaging in sizzurp or purple drink? It so, it is 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 connect with us online for support.