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‘Robo-tripping’ sends five Rowan County children to hospital

SALISBURY, N.C. — Five Rowan County children had to be rushed to the hospital after they took over-the-counter pills at their Salisbury school, according to WSOC-TV.

“We took like nine all at once,” David Alberta said.

Alberta is a ninth-grader at Henderson Independent High School and said he tried to get high with some other kids, but he learned a tough lesson.

“I couldn’t walk,” Alberta said. “I couldn’t feel anything. I was numb. My parents showed up, and they saw me in the hospital like that.”

He said he doesn’t know what he took. The school said it was over-the-counter cold medicine. Five kids were taken from Henderson to a hospital because of it.

“If they hadn’t been in the school environment then there’s no telling what could have happened to those children,” said Karen South Jones, the director of the Rowan County Youth Services Bureau.

She said there’s a big trend in kids abusing over-the-counter drugs nationwide, including robotussin. It’s called “robo-tripping.”

“Kids tend to take those over-the-counter drugs at much higher dosages,” Jones said. “The impacts of those can mimic things like PCP and other drugs.”

Experts said the effects can be deadly and because the drugs aren’t prescribed, kids have easy access.

“We talk to our kids about illegal drug use, and we talk to our kids about prescription drug use,” Jones said. “Now we need to talk to our kids about over-the-counter drug use.”