Abuse of Dextromethorphan-Based Cough Syrup as a Substitute for Licit and Illicit Drugs: A Theoretical Framework
Darboe, Momodou N., Adolescence
Drug abuse, both illicit and licit, is an ongoing serious national problem. To date, neither prevailing social policies, law enforcement apparatus (national and local) nor community efforts have been able to contain the problem and its devastating consequences. Like a multi-headed hydra, it regenerates itself in new forms. The abuse of dextromethorphan-based cough syrup could become a new national problem with profound implications if teenage experimentation with the drug becomes part of the search for substitutes for some better-known substances in order to get "high."
The improper use of drugs for nonmedical purposes not only is damaging to health, but is harmful to society in many profound ways. The drugs in question, as noted, may be classified in two broad categories: (1) licit psychoactive drugs such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, as well as over-the-counter preparations, including pain killers and cold medications; and (2) the illicit psychoactive drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. The forms of abuse include experimental use (a short-term trial); social recreational use (occasional indulgence among friends to share an experience); circumstantial (situational use in specific stressful circumstances); intensified use (long-term, regular, and habitual use); and compulsive use (frequent use of the drug to the point where an individual becomes physiologically and/or psychologically dependent) (Jones, Gallagher, & McFalls, 1988). The primary focus of this paper is to construct a theoretical framework with regard to the factors that make dextromethorphan-based cough syrup an attractive choice for experimental abuse or misuse.
A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research reported a significant drop in illegal drug abuse among high school seniors (U.S. Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, 1991) However, a national poll of U.S. citizens reported ". . . drug abuse in general and teenagers' drug use in particular [as being] this nation's number one problem" (Eggert & Herting, 1991, p. 482). The National Institute on Drug Abuse also has reported only a modest decline in drug usage. Further, ". . . health officials see a new and terrifying danger--teenagers who regularly abuse and combine many different drugs end up with …
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Publication information: Article title: Abuse of Dextromethorphan-Based Cough Syrup as a Substitute for Licit and Illicit Drugs: A Theoretical Framework. Contributors: Darboe, Momodou N. - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 31. Issue: 121 Publication date: Spring 1996. Page number: 239+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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