Youngsters stoop low to abusing cough syrup for getting high

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Washington, Jan 14 (UNI) It's not just marijuana or opium that are used by addicts but many of them are resorting to cough syrups and cold medicines as cheap and available options to get high.

About 3.1 million people in the US aged 12 to 25 have abused these medicines at least once in their lifetimes, a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has stated.

Newly analysed data show the number was comparable to those who say they have used LSD (3.1 million), and was significantly greater than the number who reported having tried methamphetamines (2.4 million).

Overdosing on many cough and cold medications may result in serious life-threatening adverse reactions. Adverse reactions include blurred vision, loss of physical coordination, intense abdominal pain, vomiting, uncontrolled violent muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, delirium and death.

Nearly 67,000 people from around the nation, including almost 45,000 aged 12 to 25 were interviewed. It was reported that women aged 12 to 17 were more likely than their male counterparts to have misused these drugs within the past year. But among those aged 18 to 25, more males had misused these drugs.

''The scope and danger posed by these medications requires a broad scale public health campaign involving everyone, including the medical community, industry, parents and young people,'' SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline said.

Although non-prescription cough and cold medications are generally safe when taken for medicinal purposes and as directed on their labeling, they can induce severe dissociative, ''out-of-body'' experiences when they are consumed in amounts far in excess of their recommended dosages.

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