Cough Syrups

OTC cough syrups ┬┐ire of varied composition. Some contain no obviously psychoactive drugs. Others contain known depressants, such as alcohol and chloroform; stimulants such as phenylpropanolamine; antihistamines; and derivatives of opiates considered to be nonnarcotic. Sometimes people who are desperate for drugs and who cannot get anything better consume overdoses of these preparations in efforts to get high.

The principal OTC cough suppressant is a drug called dextromethorphan, a relative of codeine that quiets the cough center but does not produce euphoria, dependence, or the other characteristic effects of narcotics. Still, it may cause drowsiness and depression of respiration.

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