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Teenagers now taking cough syrup to ‘get high’.

It has now been revealed that adolescents and young adults are non-prescription cough and cold medicines to get high.

Chugging cough medicine for an instant high isn't a new practice and has become so popular as a quick, cheap, and legal high for teens notwithstanding the fact it is a dangerous and potentially deadly practice.

Benyly is categorised as a codeine, a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone.

With a growing demand from teenagers and young adults, the price of the of-the-counter drug has risen sharply. A spot check shows that a bottle now retails for Sh. 900 up from Sh. 60.

The abusers are codeine are mixing codeine with soft drinks and candy to make a concoction known as purple drink, syrup, lean or sizzurp. Mixing it with soda dulls the taste of the drug and also reduces the sweet taste.

This concoction is chilled for a few hours for ‘a better high’. The effects of taking the concoction can last a few hours.

The issue is of great concern because over-consumption of cough syrup can have devastating effects on a person’s health, including causing blood cancer. If taken in high doses it can lead to hallucinations, dizziness and depression.

Unfortunately, the syrup is available over the counter and many pharmacists choose to turn a blind eye to the fact that the youth purchasing it are using it to make the concoction.

It is the same case in schools and college where students usually feign sickness so as to be given this particular syrup in the school dispensaries.

Most cough syrups that are sold contain at least 10mg of codeine and should not be sold without a prescription. However, many private pharmacies sell them and that is why they are accessible to youth.

Codeine is typically administered in liquid or pill form (frequently in combination with acetaminophen), and when used under the direction of a medical professional, it is a relatively safe way to treat minor pain or control troublesome coughs.

When used as prescribed, this pain-reliever is a relatively mild opiate. However, users often abuse codeine for the feelings of relaxation and euphoria they produce.

Codeine abuse can develop into a full-fledged codeine addiction in fact, it has been classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a “high potential for abuse.” Like many opiates, withdrawal symptoms from codeine can be quite severe, keeping the user in a cycle of use they cannot stop.

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