Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cough and Cold Medicine Abuse: What to Look for, How to Handle it with Your Foster Kids and Slang Terms to Know.

 by John and Diane.

Teen use of cough and cold medicines to get “high” is fairly common and is an issue foster parents need to be aware of with new kids coming into their homes. A fairly new drug choice, it is but one of the available drugs kids can get their hands on with a sense of ease.
Being aware of the signs of drug use is vital in catching the behavior early on and intervening before it becomes a bigger issue. With foster children you want to make sure new foster kids with drug use behavior don’t begin to influence other foster kids or biological children in the home, so, again, catching and addressing the behavior is vital.
Here are some red flags to look for:

·      Friends: Meet and get to know the child’s friends. If they seem shady, secretive or manipulative, it could be a warning sign.  If your child has had long-term friends that he has broken off friendships with, this is another sign of changing behavior that may indicate drug use.
·      Appetite: Any significant weight gain or loss should be addressed as a sign of illness or potential drug or alcohol use.
·      Illness:  If your teen seems to be asking for cough or cold medicines routinely, this could indicate the misuse of the drug. Take the child to the doctor to rule out actual illness, and if the child refuses to go, chances are he or she may be misusing the medication or supplying it to friends.
·      Moodiness: Mood swings (more than usual for a teen) secretiveness, manic, listless or angry outbursts are all red flags for drug abuse, when paired with other signs.
·      Sleep Changes: Insomnia or sleeping all day are both signs of drug induced sleep disruptions.
·      Appearance and grooming changes: If the child has stopped normal grooming habits such as daily showers or pride in his or her appearance, changed the style of their dress or has dramatic skin changes such as break outs, waxy or pasty skin, this is a red flag.
·      Hides trash: If your teen is suddenly emptying his or her own bedroom or bathroom trashcan or is hiding trash in their room, it is a red flag that they may be hiding things like cold medicine containers and boxes.
·      School performance: Check on school grades and attendance. Changes in school participation are a sure sign that something is going wrong in the child’s life and should be addressed.

Of course, its difficult to tell with teenagers what is normal teenage angst and what might be drug abuse symptoms, so look for multiple symptoms and try to keep the lines of communication open.

With foster children who may have other issues like RAD or ADD, the difficulty is even greater, but knowing the child’s history and talking to the caseworker is critical in keeping on top of the situation and making sure your home is safe for the foster child and everyone else in the house.

Get the whole care-team on board to address the issue and monitor behavior to be sure you are totally aware of what is going on in the child’s life and with his friends so that drugs are not introduced into your home.  Begin room checks if you have any inkling that there may be trouble.

Make sure that you talk to the teen, and to all the kids in the home about drug usage, and let them know this behavior will not be tolerated in your home. Make them aware that if there is an existing issue that you want to help them, but that you will not enable them to continue. Again, enlist the help of caseworkers and be sure to document everything to protect yourself and the others in your home.

Below are some slang terms for cough and cold medicines you should be aware of:

DXM. A common abbreviation for dextromethorphan, a drug in many cough and cold medicines. It's abused by some teens because it can cause hallucinations and dissociative effects at high doses.
Dex or Drex. Street terms for cold and cough medicines with dextromethorphan.
Dexing. Getting high on products with dextromethorphan.
Orange crush. A term for some cough medicines with dextromethorphan. It may stem from the orange-colored syrup -- and packaging -- of brands like Delsym.
Poor man's PCP, or Poor man's X. Products with dextromethorphan, since they're cheap but can cause effects similar to those of PCP or ecstasy at high doses.
Red devils. Another term for Coricidin tablets or other cough medicines.
Red hots. A term for capsules or tablets with dextromethorphan. The term comes from their resemblance to the candy.
Robo. Usually a reference to cough syrup with dextromethorphan. It derives from the brand name Robitussin, but it is common slang for any cough syrup.
Robo-dosing. Abusing products with dextromethorphan, like cough syrups.
Robo-fizzing. Combining cough medicine with soda or alcohol.
Robotard. A term for someone who abuses dextromethorphan.
Robo-tripping. Abusing products with dextromethorphan. The term refers to the hallucinogenic trips that people experience at high doses.
Rojo. Cold and cough medicines with dextromethorphan. "Rojo" is Spanish for "red," and refers to the color of many syrups and gelcaps.
Skittles. Usually applied to Coricidin tablets with dextromethorphan, since they have a size and shape similar to the candy.
Skittling. Another term for abusing products with dextromethorphan. It applies specifically to using Coricidin tablets, sometimes called Skittles after the candy.
Syrup head. Someone who uses cough syrups or other products with dextromethorphan to get high.
Triple C’s or CCCs. A term for Coricidin tablets with dextromethorphan, which have three small C's printed on each tablet for "Coricidin Cold and Cough."
Tussin. Another term for cough syrup with dextromethorphan.
Tussing. A term for using products with dextromethorphan. It refers to cough syrups such as Tussin or Robitussin.
Velvet or velvet syrup. Cough syrup with dextromethorphan.
Vitamin D. Another term for medicines with dextromethorphan, often applied to Robitussin products.

Check out these other resources:
The Five Moms Campaign 

Updated information at 9/10/12
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  1. Thanks for this article very important information. I will be remembering this for the future.

  2. Thanks to Diane for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you found me! Love the blog, look forward to reading more from you!

    ~Jess @

  3. This is so helpful to know for any parent of a teenager. My older kids are out of the house now but I do have 3 younger ones from my second marriage. I am going to let my friends with teenagers know what these words mean. Thank you so much for posting the information.

    New follower from the Friday Blog Hop.

    1. Thanks Shelly Ann,
      We appreciate the help in spreading important info. for parents. Like your blog as well!

  4. Thank you for the info!

    I found your blog through the blog hop and I followed you via GFC. I hope you can visit my blog at :)

    You might want to join my Twitter link up!


  5. I followed you and I just started a blog, it's dutch. But you could use translate of course. Following me would mean alot!

  6. thanks for sharing.

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