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PORTLAND - Five kids in Aloha who overdosed on cold medicine have now been charged with theft after police say they stole the pills from a Fred Meyer store.
A middle-school boy remains in critical condition at Oregon Health Science University after he and four friends swallowed around 80 cold pills during what police say was a four-hour race between friends to see who could get the greatest high.
The boy in critical condition took 37 of the Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold Medicine tablets. A 13-year-old girl ingested 20 pills. She was being treated at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. Hospital officials would not disclose her condition.
Twin 16-year-old boys swallowed 10 and six tablets, respectively, and another 12-year-old boy took nine pills.
"They actually thought it was a joke," said Sheriff's Cpl. Grady Nelson. "Even in the interviews in the hospital, they still didn't take it seriously. . . . They didn't think that it could be life or death."
Coricidin is the brand name for an over-the-counter cold remedy usually suggested for people suffering from high blood pressure. The tablets contain dextromethorphan -- which is relatively safe -- and chlorpheniramine maleate. In high doses, the drugs can be dangerous.
An overdose of the medicine can cause elevated body temperature and heart rates, impaired judgment, loss of coordination, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes, accelerated heartbeat, slurred speech, tremors, seizures and death.
"It's not really new," said Ken Magee, assistant special agent in charge of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Portland office. "It's something that has been going on for years. The trend is more children are beginning to use it."
Coricidin is attractive because teens can carry it openly, unlike alcohol and marijuana, said Nicole Guillory-Miller, director of youth addiction at Tualatin Valley Centers, a mental health and addiction center.
She estimates 5 percent to 10 percent of the center's 150 teenage patients have abused or overdosed on Coricidin. Another 20 to 30 percent have tried it.
"It's very popular among middle- and upper-class kids," Guillory-Miller said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
...sounds like these kids could have used an Other Drugs Forum