Thursday, December 28, 2006
Medical Reports: Dose of Trouble
Tonight, a warning for all parents. We're right in the middle of cold and flu season, and many of you are hoping spoonfuls of medicine will cure your cold. But 7's Richard Lemus shows us how some teenagers are turning common cold medicines into a dose of trouble.
WSVN -- 'Tis the season for colds and coughing. But for many teenagers, it's also the prime season for cold medicine abuse.
Adrian Lopez: "This is unfortunately the time of year for flu and cold season, and it's in homes where it can be more accessible."
With three kids who always seem to get sick, Tim Pederson's home is filled with over-the-counter remedies.
Tim Pederson: "We have a medicine bucket that we keep with all our prescriptions in, so we have it very accessible."
Handy, yes, and possibly a dose of trouble if this medicine gets into the wrong hands.
Tim Pederson: "I have kids that are 10 years old, on down to 1. Now is the time we need to be more diligent in keeping these things locked away."
That's because experts say teenagers have discovered they can get high by chugging mass quantities of over-the-counter medicine containing the ingredient dextromethorphan or DMX.
Some even mix it with alcohol.
Jim Hall: "The pattern is to take as much as they can, it becomes increasingly dangerous and can even result in death."
And don't think your child won't try it.
A brand new study estimates that 2.4 million teenagers got high on cough medicine in 2005.
Adrian Lopez: "ER visits are alarmingly on the rise. We are estimating now that there are well over 10,000 ER visits and, out of that, over half are between the ages of 12 and 20."
But parents, before it gets that far, there are signs to look out for like children taking large amounts of cold or cough remedies -- especially when they're not sick -- or drugs that vanish from the medicine cabinet.
Jim Hall: "Take the medicine out of the medicine cabinet, and put it in a safe place."
Parents should also monitor how much medicine they have left inside each bottle.
Adrian Lopez: "If you notice there's less of the cold remedies than you're used to seeing, don't be afraid to ask your child."
Tim is making some major changes in where he keeps his household medicine.
Tim Pederson: "They won't be sitting in an open bucket of medicine for them to be able to pick and choose."
He's even turning to alternative methods of fighting the common cold.
Tim Pederson: "One of the things we've done is look for something natural that works just as well, and we've actually found one we'll use before we resort to the DXM."
Believe it or not, there are even websites now that calculate exactly how much cough medicine to take for an extreme high.
So it's important for parents to also monitor their child's internet use.
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