If cold and flu season has you reaching for a bottle of cough syrup, you might also need to grab your ID. In Kentucky, lawmakers have introduced a new bill that would require consumers to show some sort of identification before they buy a bottle of cough syrup. Why the hassle for an over-the-counter medication? To curb teens from using cough syrup to get high.
It's called robo-tripping, and it's the latest trend in teens looking for a quick and easy high. By freezing certain brands of cough syrup and then chugging, teens distill the active ingredient chemical dextromethorphan, which is described by pharmacists as the most common over-the-counter cough suppressant. It is found in Robitussin DM and NyQuil. And when taken via the robo-tripping method it can cause everything from hallucinations to nightmares to nervous tics.
In 2008, cough syrup overdoses were responsible for about 8,000 trips to emergency rooms across the country, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In 2012, cough syrup abuse accounted for about 5 percent of illicit drug use in the United States among high school seniors, according to a University of Michigan study for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
According to USA Today, other states have recently banned selling cough syrup to minors, including California, New York and Louisiana.
Kentucky lawmakers hope that their new legislation will walk the fine line between banning cough syrup and making it more difficult for teens to abuse it.
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