Five students in district hospitalized for Coricidin abuse

Catherine Conrow

Throughout the past two weeks, five students in the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) have been hospitalized after abusing the over-the-counter cough syrup Coricidin.

The students, three from Tamalpais High School and two from Drake High School, were sent to the hospital after overdosing on the cold medication at school, according to NBC Bay Area. 

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The students at Tam were found high in class while the other two students at Drake overdosed at a school dance.

Out of the five students, NBC reported that the youngest was a ninth grader and the others were 10th and 11th graders, according to Wes Cedros, senior director of student services for the district.

Coricidin, also referred to as “Triple C” or “Skittles,” contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM).  When taken in quantities above the prescribed amount, DXM can cause a high that produces “euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

DXM is addictive, and the side effects of Coricidin range from vomiting, dizziness, impaired judgment, and poor motor control to seizure, coma, and death, according to a letter sent to all Redwood parents by Principal David Sondheim. All five high schools in the district sent out similar letters to warn parents of the dangers of the drug.

“Coricidin abuse has been on the rise, nationally, for the past few years and part of the reason is that it is relatively easy to obtain,” Sondheim wrote in the letter. “Many teens take the drug straight from the medicine cabinet at home, steal it from the store or receive it from another teen.”

The District’s new Wellness Center provides students who have questions about prescription drugs a safe place to talk to someone, according to Jen Kenny-Baum, Redwood’s Wellness Coordinator.  The Huckleberry Youth Program also comes to Redwood on Tuesdays to provide students with additional information on prescription drug abuse.