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Cough medicine abuse happens when teens take extreme amounts—sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose—of cough medicine to get high. The "high" is caused by consuming a large amount of dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough medicines. The reality is that that one out of every 10 teens—more than two million—has abused cough medicine to get high. Teens are finding and sharing information about cough medicine abuse on the Internet, but what they aren't telling each other is that this abuse can be very dangerous.
An even more dangerous form of dextromethorphan abuse involves taking the ingredient in its raw, unfinished form. This behavior is so dangerous that federal legislation has been introduced to keep this unfinished ingredient from being sold to anyone other than medicine makers and medical researchers. There is no good reason for teens to have this ingredient in their hands.
In the case of raw dextromethorphan, the frightening reality is that kids have been able to log on to a host of sites, purchase large amounts of the pure ingredient with only a credit card and a shipping address, and receive the drug in its unfinished form at their doorstep—your doorstep. The people who have allowed these sales are a new breed of Internet predator, out to make money, with no consideration of the dangers their sites pose to our kids. There simply is no good reason to allow teens or anyone else to have this raw ingredient.
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