Over the Counter Medicine Abuse

The core component of The Cove Center for Recovery’s success is their use of individualized treatment plans to address over-the-counter drug abuse. The Cove embraces the opportunity to work with the client to create a healthy treatment plan tailored specifically for them and their needs. This philosophy is what leads to our client’s triumphs in recovery life.

What is OTC Abuse Treatment?

Over-the-counter drugs also known as OTC’s can be found at your local drug stores, pharmacies and even grocery stores. The trend popularized by teens has now become an easy way for adults to get high without abusing more destructive substances.

The most common drugs found in pharmacies that are abused include cough and cold medicines designed to treat sinus pressure, cold and flu symptoms, fevers and headaches. These medications contain dextromethorphan commonly known as DXM and can be found in over 100 cough and cold medicines.

Some popular brands addicts’ abuse include:

  • Robutussin
  • Triaminic
  • Vicks
  • Coricidin
  • Sudafed

Another trend popularized by over-the-counter medicine abuse is robotripping or robodexing. This style of drug is created when you combine high doses of cough syrup such as robutussin with alcohol. The new drink also goes by the street name Triple C. In addition to the active ingredient DXM most OTC pharmaceuticals also contain pseudoephedrine. It is a stimulant known to cause anxiety or panic attacks when taken in high doses.

How can OTC drugs be abused?

These drugs are usually taken in large doses to achieve a “high”. Many often mix these medications with other prescription drugs, marijuana or alcohol. Besides being taken orally these drugs are also sold in pill form which can be crushed and snorted through the nasal passage.

Are there any side effects to this drug abuse?

Just like any other drug abusing OTC medication has both short and long term effects.

Short-Term Effects

  • Hospitalization
  • Impaired judgment
  • Nausea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Aches
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • Cold flashes
  • Dizziness

Long-Term Effects

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Death

The Drug Enforcement Administration has classified DXM as a “drug of concern”. The rise in its abuse has lead its users to become addicted to or relapse back into heavier substances. Although most stores have placed DXM behind the pharmaceutical counter to lower teen abuse, it is still easily accessible for adults.

Are you or a loved a former addict and have questions for a doctor? Ask our Cove doctor here.