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Locals to Hold Meeting to Address Teen Cough Medicine Abuse

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Local officials are concerned about the growing problem of cough medicine abuse by teenagers. Officials are holding a meeting tonight to discuss ways to address the problem. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Many over-the-counter cough medicines contain the ingredient dextromethorphan, known as DXM. Taken in large amounts, DXM causes a high some say is similar to the drug ecstasy.

John Wilde is with the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement . He says cough medicines also contain antihistamines and other drugs.

Wilde : And so when they're taking these large doses of cough medicine to get a high from it, they're also ingesting high doses of the toxic chemicals that are also in there. And they don't realize that. And so a lot of them are getting sick and having to go the emergency room for treatment.

One survey shows half of all teens don't think abusing cough medicine is risky. Wilde encourages parents to talk to their kids about the dangers.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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