MADRAS, Ore. (Madras Pioneer) — Four local youths were hospitalized recently as a result of overdosing on over-the-counter cold medicine and law enforcement and Jefferson County Juvenile Department staff are aware of several other cases.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Madras Police Department, and Jefferson County Juvenile Department have identified an upward spike in juvenile abuse of over-the-counter cold medicines containing dextromethorphan, including the spate of hospitalizations the weekend of Nov. 17-18.
According to the National Institutes of Health U.S. National Library of Medicine, dextromethorphan is found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, including Robitussin DM, Triaminic DM, Rondec DM, Benylin DM, Drixoral, St. Joseph Cough Suppressant, Coricidin, Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Cough, NyQuil, DayQuil, TheraFlu, Tylenol Cold and Dimetapp DM.
Slang terms for the substance include Orange Crush, Triple Cs, Red Devils, Skittles, and Dex.
Symptoms of dextromethorphan overdose include breathing problems, such as slow and labored breathing, shallow breathing, or no breathing; bluish-colored fingernails and lips; blurred vision; coma; constipation; seizures; drowsiness; dizziness; hallucinations; high or low blood pressure; muscle twitches; nausea and vomiting; pounding heartbeat (palpitations) or rapid heartbeat; raised body temperature, and spasms of the stomach and intestines.
Overdose on the substance is life-threatening and medical care should be sought immediately if overdose is suspected.
Parents are reminded to be vigilant in monitoring the possession and use of all household medications, including prescription and over-the-counter substances. Expired or unwanted medications can be discarded in secure disposal boxes located at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Culver City Hall, and the Crooked River Ranch Fire Hall.