In an ongoing series, we will answer questions in our Cove Center for Recovery Ask the Doctor column regarding drug treatment issues. If you have a health related question, please submit it to and we will answer your question in our daily blog.

Question: My son just got back from drug rehab and caught a bad cold with coughing and congestion. I don’t want to go to the pharmacy and buy him over-the-counter products that may lead to a relapse. His addictions that he is in recovery for are heroin, cocaine, flakka, and meth. He has a long history of relapsing and at the moment, I am very proud of the way he is doing and I don’t want him to sacrifice all the hard work he has put in.

Cove Center for Recovery doctor: We understand your concern for your son especially since he has relapsed on numerous occasions. The fact that you are being proactive about his condition means so much to his welfare. As you may know countless people become addicted to opiates after they are recovering from a surgery. In many cases, these patients have never been addicted to a drug before. The same applies to over-the-counter medicine which can lead a person in recovery straight back to their addiction and relapse.

In your son’s case I would recommend the following:

First, buy him some Musinex and to be on the safe side make sure it does not contain dextromethorphan (DM). Dextromethorphan can be found in many cough syrups, usually ones ending in “dm.” This drug is safe if used as directed, but if it is abused and taken in large quantities it can cause a relapse. So why take a chance with the dm and get the Musinex without it. Also, it is critical that he drinks a lot of water while taking the Musinex or it will lose its effect. For more information read the document “Safe Drug Use for the Recovering Addict or Alcoholic.”

Also, have your son take either Tylenol or Excedrin without the acetometaphine. These pain relievers with acetometaphine are highly caffeinated and can mimic the feeling that he had when he abused cocaine and perhaps ignite another relapse.

Then buy a saline solution that will open up the air passages.

Finally get some claritin as well.

As with any sickness – whether it is serious or a common cold – you should consult with a physician first and follow up with a pharmacist. And be absolutely clear that you are recovering from a drug addiction, when speaking with your doctor and pharmacist.

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