Government Says Millions of Young People Abusing Cough Meds

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A lot of young people are using cough and cold medicine -- and not the way it's intended.

The government says more than three million people between the ages of 12 and 25 have used the medicine to get high.

In that age group, that is even more than are using methamphetamine.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2006 survey on drug abuse and health finds that more than five percent of teenagers and young adults misused cough and cold medicine.

It also finds that the people in the age group had experimented frequently with illicit drugs. More than four out of five had used marijuana.

The cough suppressant DXM is found in more than 140 cough and cold medications that are available without a prescription.

The ingredient, taken in large amounts, can cause disorientation, blurred vision, slurred speech and vomiting.

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