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Addicted to cough syrup?

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by Starlight, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Starlight

    Starlight Member

    A relative of mine is addicted to cough syrup. It all started when she got a really bad bout of flu. When it passed, she was left with a nasty cough, so our local doctor prescribed some cough syrup to help beat it. She took it three times a day for over three weeks.

    However, I noticed that she continued taking it well after her cough was cured. She had some empty bottles hidden in her drawer. When I casually brought it up, she denied it and claimed they were old ones. However, some of them looked new, like barely a day old.

    Does anyone here know if there's anything I could do to help?
    Damien Lee likes this.
  2. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Community Champion

    I don't personally know anyone that is addicted to cough syrup. However, when I was sick a few years ago I also needed to take cough syrup. To my surprise, it tasted really good. I guess the pharmaceutical companies have realize that most folks don't like taking medicine, and so they've improved the flavor. I wouldn't be surprised if more folks are enjoying taking their cough syrup and possibly becoming addicted.
  3. Joethefirst

    Joethefirst Community Champion

    I had a teacher of mine that was addicted to cough syrup and started in a very similar way to your relative. After having her cough had gone, she still carried on taking the cough syrup. She always had a bottle in her purse, and would drink a whole mouthful of it at a go. Unfortunately I can't tell you how she stopped taking it. She simply just stopped from one day to another, I think someone had a talk with her.
  4. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    I never knew a person could be addicted to regular cough syrup. I guess you would have to address the problem like you would with anyone else who has an addiction. It's probably best she seeks out help for this problem or weens her self completely off of it. I'm sure there could be bad side effect for taking cough syrup when you don't need it. Just tell her that she has a problem and should deal with it before she ends up having serious health problems.
  5. NyX82

    NyX82 Member

    Was this cough syrup with Codeine in it or just regular cough syrup? If it has Codeine in it then she's most likely addicted to it because it's an Opiate. If this is regular cough syrup a lot of people will take it in massive quantities because it gives you a tripping like high. People refer to it as robo tripping. I would look into it and see what kind it is exactly and go from there. If it does have Codeine in it then she probably liked how it made her feel and could now possibly experience withdrawal from not taking it.
  6. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I do not know someone personally who got addicted to cough syrup but I am aware that this addiction exists. She should realize that taking cough syrup unnecessary could bring her some problems like health issues in the long run. You can try talking again to her and tell your concerns and show care.
  7. Shenwil

    Shenwil Senior Contributor

    As simple as it seems this addiction truly exists. Maybe during her illness the syrup left a calming effect on her or some other kind of feeling that wants to keep feeling. It could be that she is lacking a vitamin or mineral which causes her to have the craving for the cough syrup. Wish I knew how to help though.
  8. xeylonfm

    xeylonfm Member

    Now I wouldn’t say her addiction is altogether unjustified and thus should be shrugged, not really. When you analyze what a syrup is in fact in relation to addiction, she is clearly addicted to the taste of the ingredients and not the effect the syrup imputes on her. Syrups are not know in the pharmacy world to contain some very strong constituents as such. So she has after the taste which can really tend to be something an adult can like. In this case this is a simple addiction that can be done away with the same concept of taste. A food substance cocktail that tastes as near as the syrup could help unhook her from the situation.
  9. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Well cough syrup in the old days used to contain codeine, but that hasn't been used in the US at least since probably about 1965, I don't know about other countries. Then their was an addictive in some cold medicine that made people high, however, I don't remember the name, I think HPB. Now a days, I am not sure if there is anything addictive in cough syrup, but laws might be different in different countries. I guess just point out that you are concerned about her use of it, and say that you are there to help.
  10. movingforward1

    movingforward1 Active Contributor

    If it was prescription cough syrup, she was likely forming a habituation to the codeine or promethazine. If it was over-the-counter cough syrup, she is getting high off of the active cough suppressing ingredient. While this ingredient is not as physically addictive as codeine (an opiate), it is in a similar drug class as ketamine and PCP. It causes dissociation and hallucinations in moderate doses, and can cause a complete break with reality in higher dosages.
  11. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    You are totally right about the codeine being available as a prescription drug. I had forgotten about that. However, I am not sure how much it is prescribed even as it is so addictive. I think most cough syrups use dextromorphan or guaffesein as the active ingredient, the OTC ones, I don't know how addictive that is.
  12. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    I remember your post about the teacher being addicted to cough syrup. I guess you would approach the person in a nice warm way about your concern and why they need help on the addiction. I don't know how common cough syrup addiction is though. Have you read any articles about it? It might help on how to approach your friend.
  13. danjon

    danjon Senior Contributor

    You can get cough syrup over here in the UK that contains diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine which has sedative effects. It is possible to become mildly psychologically addicted to it, although it isn't necessarily physically addictive. Perhaps your relative took it for its ability to help them sleep, then over time became reliant on it? It might be worth bringing this up with them to find out.
  14. rikka

    rikka Member

    I haven't encountered someone who's addicted to cough syrup either.

    I am not sure what effect your relative is experiencing that is probably "nice" to her for her to continue taking the medication even when well. But denying the existence of a problem is actually a problem. You can have a heart to heart talk to her about it after you realized she denied in just your casual talk. Ask her for her reason for taking the medication when not needed. You can offer your help. Or, you can probably ask a physician about it and ask his advice. Probably he can recommend something.
  15. 111kg

    111kg Community Champion

    But there are cough syrups in US that have codeine, only you have to get a prescription for them. It's pretty much impossible to get them without one, as it's considered a felony to have codeine rich medications without a prescription. If you are caught, you can be sent to jail or at least do some community work.
  16. Juanpeace

    Juanpeace Active Contributor

    Cough syrup was a very popular drug of choice by kids in the late 70' and 80's. people just drink it like soda and get "high" a perfect party drug that is cheaper than say quaaludes or other high-end recreational drugs. The best thing you can do for now is to talk to her about her addiction and how it may affect her in the future. I have seen some people addicted to cough syrup develop psychological problems and end up in a mental institution. If she is not yet into selling things and being violent, you have to tread lightly about telling her parents. Be a friend, a confidante and try to convince her to stop. Only her decision to stop can make her move one step forward to recovery.
  17. lexinonomous

    lexinonomous Community Champion

    Cough Syrup was my first addiction. I was about thirteen years old when I decided to try and commit suicide with it. I had no idea that all it was going to do was make me incredibly sleepy and high as a kite. When I was falling asleep, I thought I was falling to my death and accepted it, only to wake up hours later and realize what it had done. I then became addicted to it, drinking it all the time.

    I would confront her about the bottles. Talk to her like a normal person and don't approach it aggressively, but just state your concerns and ask her how she feels about what she's doing. Go from there. If she wants to get help, look into different programs in your area.
  18. artyarson

    artyarson Active Contributor

    I've read some replies and I'd say it's all pretty surprising. I never been there. Yep, some of the syrup have very sweet and even pleasant taste. I wanted to drink them over and over, like eating candies. But it always gets me sick at some point.
  19. tyannaaa_

    tyannaaa_ Member

    Wow, I have never heard or had a friend who has an addiction to cough syrup but there are many different addictions nevertheless. I'm not really sure what you could do because when you bring it up she kind of brushes it off so, maybe ask a professional? Tell her that its abnormal to be drinking cough syrup like its juice or something, it can cause her to get really sick from it.
  20. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Active Contributor

    Addiction can be quite strange. Sometimes, people will not get addicted to certain substances, but others will. Apparently in your case, it didn't really appeal to you (thankfully).