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Warning to parents: Concerns voiced over abuse of over-the-counter medicine

July 26, 2011
By Kurt Hauglie , By Kurt Hauglie Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET - One day recently, Christopher Fischer's 13-year-old daughter came home with a couple of friends, and he knew very quickly there was something wrong with the girls' behavior.

Fischer said one of the friends was having trouble standing and almost fell over, which prompted him to ask his daughter about her friend.

"(I asked,) 'What is she on?'" he said. "I didn't smell alcohol."

Fischer said he sat the friend down and went to get her some water, and when he came back she and the other friend were gone. He asked his daughter where they went, and when he didn't get a coherent response, he checked his daughter's pupils, which were dilated.

"Right then, I knew she was on something," Fischer said.

After several attempts to get his daughter to tell him what she had taken, Fischer said he couldn't get a clear response, and in fact she kept repeating his questions back to him and asking where her friend was.

"I kept getting strange responses," he said. "She was completely out of it."

Eventually his daughter told him she took some red capsules a friend took from a local department store, Fischer said.

After talking with another parent about the situation, he found out it was an over-the-counter medication called Coricidin Cough and Cold, also known as Triple C.

Fischer said the recommended dosage for the medication is one pill every six hours, but after further investigation he found people are taking much higher doses.

"These kids are taking eight to 22 (pills at a time)," he said.

Fischer said he checked with the store from where the pills were taken, and was told seven empty boxes were found on a shelf. Security video showed someone taking the pills from the boxes, and although his daughter could be seen in the video, she wasn't involved with taking the pills.

Because the pills were so easily taken, Fischer said he asked store employees if the boxes of Coricidin Cough and Cold could be placed behind the counter, and he was told they wouldn't be moved.



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