Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse

By: Lauren Davis Email
By: Lauren Davis Email

One in 10 teens have abused cough medicine to get high, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. And, one in four knows someone who has.

Christie Crandell learned her son was abusing cough medicine the hard way, after he got in trouble with the law.

She says her oldest son is serving a 13 year prison sentence for crimes committed while under the influence of cough medicine and marijuana.

Teens like Christie’s son are using 10 to 15 times the recommended dose to get high.

It’s the active ingredient dextromethorphan that teens are taking, which is found in over the counter cough medicines.

Christie now knows all too well the signs to look for. She says, “You should look for empty bottles, empty containers, empty medicine cabinet; the symptoms are confusion and slurred speech.”

Christie and four other moms are trying to get the word out to other moms about the growing trend of cough medicine abuse.

They want to bring awareness to parents before they end up like Christie’s son.

Virginia Cox with Consumer Healthcare Products says, “It's important for parents to know about it so they can have discussions with their children.”

It might prevent you from the heartache and financial strain Christie and her son are going through now.

Christie and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association are involved in the grassroots campaign called Five Moms: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse.

They are trying to grow the awareness base from five moms who are personally affected to five million around the nation.

For more information on the grassroots campaign, watch News 4 Tuesday morning at 6AM for a more in-depth interview with Christie.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Susan Location: midwest on Dec 22, 2009 at 05:33 PM
    All you people blaming the parents have no idea what you are talking about. You can't be with your children every minute of every day, and there are teens who WILL do these things. Maybe the cough syrup makers can take this crap off the market and use something else in the cough syrup that the kids won't want to drink. Nooo, they won't though, because this way they can sell even more of it.
  • by Sam Location: Minneapolis on Jul 18, 2009 at 04:40 PM
    This article is very misleading. It is trying to state that because he was using marijuana and cough syrup to get high that he committed crimes that got him 13 years in prison. I know of hundreds (I'm not exaggerating, I know them online)of people who use the drug and aren't in prison, or jail. And actually most are against committing crimes. The part of this article implies drug use as a cause of crime has nothing to back it up with. We don't even know what kind of crimes he committed or what kind of a life he led. He might have been a troubled child that would've rebelled regardless. I agree completely with Jeff. This article needs to address the topic differently, and stop making the association that drugs=crime. Because, unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are a lot less informed and will believe just about anything. And what they don't know, they tend to make poorly misinformed assumptions.
  • by sarah Location: scranton on Jan 12, 2009 at 09:21 AM
    i think that parents should be checking up on their kids and if they cant figure out that their kids are high on something all of the time then they arent doing their jobs. yeah you can blame the kids for doing it but its the parents that should be stopping it. did you ever think to look at your kids friends they proabaly look like they are stoned too. its your decision, whose to blame?
  • by darryl Location: shalimar on Sep 1, 2008 at 10:16 AM
    well i hate to tell you that with this type of drug the parents are not always toblame...My wife and I have raised our daughter very well.And it still happened and with a friend who is going to college on a scholarship . this stuff scares the --- out of me.
  • by Cookie1456 Location: CA on Jan 24, 2008 at 08:29 PM
    Oh boo hoo the kid was stupid that was his fault, not some evil predator online.
  • by Becky Dyer of the Five Moms Location: Kansas on Jul 2, 2007 at 12:47 PM
    Jeff, I encourage you to check out our website at, because it seems you are not aware what “these mothers” stand for. I am one of them, and I happen to be a Sheriff’s Deputy in Kansas, and have dedicated my career to educating the youth in my community about the dangers of drugs. And, just as importantly, I talk to my own kids about the dangers of all drugs, which is what we are encouraging parents to do. I feel obliged to point out that fortunately I have not had to experience what Christy has gone through with my own children, and she should be applauded for her efforts. We have joined together to educate parents about this, and encourage them to talk to their own children about the dangers of this type of abuse. Cough medicine abuse is on the rise, and I encourage you to educate yourself about this trend and what the fivemoms are trying to do, which is spread awareness to parents. As for your comment about, “pointing it out to any kid who reads the paper” you may be surprised to know that this is nothing new to the kids. It’s the parents who were clueless.
  • by jeff Location: iowa on Jun 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM
    How about for once we stop blaming the things people do for the things they do, and maybe we start holding parents accountable for the stupid things their kids do? Instead of crusading around the country to spread awareness (basically pointing it out to any kid who reads the paper like I did) these mothers should take a little time to reflect on their failings as parents. Kids only do the things they're allowed to get away with. If parents actually give them good, productive things to do, they wouldn't be stealing DXM from the drugstore to kill time.
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