Many parents have become more aware of the dangers of recreational drugs that kids have been exposed to nowadays, but a good number don’t realize that the danger is not just found outside of the home. There is a dangerous substance that parents may unknowingly supply to their kids -- the cough syrup or tablets sitting innocently inside the medicine cabinet.
Cough syrups and pills are conveniently available in drug stores, supermarkets and most of the time, also at home. It is used to treat coughing, either to loosen the mucus from the respiratory tract or to suppress the act of coughing itself. While it is actually a substance of significant use, it can also be dangerous when ingested in large amounts.
Dextromethorphan (DXM or DM) is an active ingredient in many cough and cold medicines. The average dose contains about 15 to 30 milligrams. When taken at doses greater than medically recommended, DXM can be classified as a psychedelic substance. The intake of DXM in large amounts can result in nausea, irregular heartbeat, blurred vision and slurred speech, hallucinations, loss of consciousness, or even death.
Manufacturers have already made the taste of their cough syrups unpleasant to discourage recreational use. While this is a good move, there are still other options kids can take. Kids don't have to drink a bottle of cough syrup to feel the effects of DXM. Also available are pills with far more potent doses of DXM.
Dextromethorphan also becomes particularly more dangerous when taken with other drugs. Fortunately, cough syrup abuse can be detected with instant prescription drug test kits.